Commonwealth Utilities Corp. wastewater manager Richard Wasser reported in yesterday’s board meeting that some of its water wells have various defects adding to the current water crisis that Saipan is experiencing.
Tinian, on the other hand, will also have an island-wide water outage on Aug. 27 from 8am to 5pm for maintenance and other repairs. The CUC Tinian office has began informing the public of the scheduled temporary water cutoff.
Defective meters, leaks, and water theft are the other reasons why at least 10 million gallons—or 70 percent of water CUC produces—are wasted every day. These are some of the reasons why CUC is pushing for a reverse osmosis water treatment system for Saipan.
Seven of the 31 water wells were shut down or went offline after the discovery of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) as contaminants in the water.
Wasser said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended the said wells to be taken off the system. He added that they don’t know when the wells will be reopened.
There are also nine water wells that need repairs by replacing pipes and motors to improve water service. CUC’s current water flow is 160 gallons per minute and if the pipes and motors get replaced, it would increase to over 400gpm.
CUC’s target is to bring water flow from 400gpm to 600gpm that would augment the water supply and address shortages experienced in the Garapan north area.
There are also six water wells that have low water levels and Wasser said they are hoping the percolation of rainfall would help replenish the supply.
“The water levels on the wells are due to low ground water levels and we have to do some re-drilling,” said Wasser.
Saipan is now divided into 50 areas where 33 have 24-hour water supply, while the rest have scheduled water interruptions. Water supply in the upper Chalan Galaide going down Mt. Tapochao and Navy Hill areas are still under scheduled hours.
Undetected leaks on the roads have also caused water interruption where leaks can easily be detected if the pipes explode. Leaks in residential areas can easily be detected because of the water meters.
Last month, water distribution in the As Lito, Dandan, and Koblerville areas were cut short during one weekend because of busted and old water pipes that can be traced back from World War II, according to Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan).