EPA funding $2.73M for CUC water projects in Gualo Rai and Fina Sisu

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is funding a project with an estimated cost of $1.45 million that will replace the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s aging and leaking water lines in Gualo Rai.

EPA is also funding a project with an estimated cost of $1.28 million that will increase the reliability of 24-hour water supply in Fina Sisu.

The water lines in the two villages were among the projects that EPA inspector John Tinger discussed in his declaration filed before the U.S. District Court for the NMI. The declaration was in support of the U.S. government’s August status report on CUC projects.

Tinger said the Gualo Rai project will replace approximately 8,400 linear feet of water mains in the village. CUC has identified this area as a priority due to the aging, leaking and undersized water lines.

The undersized lines increase the difficulty of providing sufficient water volume and pressure to customers in Gualo Rai for 24-hour water service, said Tinger who is EPA’s designated coordinator for stipulated order No. 1 projects.

SO1 focuses on drinking water and wastewater and the restructuring of CUC’s organization. It requires CUC to have an EPA-approved comprehensive drinking water and wastewater master plan to determine infrastructure needs and to provide a long-term plan for CUC’s drinking water and wastewater system improvements.

Tinger said the Gualo Rai project is in the contractor award phase.

As for the Fina Sisu project, Tinger said the plan includes replacing 7,000 linear feet of 6” and 8” water mains, including valve and service connections to increase reliability of 24-hour water service in the village.

Tinger said the project is currently in the design phase.

For the first time, 100 percent of Saipan residents had a 24-hour water supply from CUC last month, according to CUC water/wastewater division manager Gary Byra.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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