New water tank in As Terlaje unveiled


U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge David O. Carter, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, and Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog lead yesterday’s ribbon cutting for the newly completed As Terlaje water tank. The replacement tank, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is designed to withstand 210 miles per hour winds and earthquake risk category 4. (Ferdie De La Torre)

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. unveiled yesterday a new 1-million gallon water tank at the Northern Marianas College that is designed to withstand 210 miles per hour winds and earthquake risk category 4.

The new tank is also being touted as paving the way for 24-hour water supply throughout Saipan.

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge David Carter and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres led the ribbon cutting for the new tank in As Terlaje.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded the tank project for $6,151,435, while CUC provided $680,000. The total construction cost is $4,940,237, according to CUC project manager Larry Manacop.

“This water tank project has been going on as a continuing project. So this is a one-million-gallon water tank that will serve the community,” Carter said. “I was very concerned before that a lot of our community had eight hours, six hours, four hours [of water supply],” said Carter, adding that between his last visit last February and now, the water supply problem has been a priority.

Carter said the tank is capable of pumping water to other areas besides the surrounding areas.

“So we are on the road to success,” the judge said, citing the work done by the CNMI and U.S. governments, EPA, Department of Justice, and CUC.

“We want water out there 24 hours a day,” he said.

Right now, Carter said, about 93 or 94 percent of the island is receiving 24-hour water supply, so there is 6 percent more to accomplish.

Torres said he told Gary P. Camacho before when he was nominated to serve as CUC’s executive director to do his best in addressing the stipulated orders and make sure that CUC’s work is good.

“We still have a long way to go but everything that we are doing is a working progress. This administration makes sure that we continue to progress and make sure we address our issues,” he said.

Torres said seeing today’s completion of the water tank project is only a step; the next project is the creation of nine wells.

In his closing remarks, Camacho expressed appreciation to Torres, Carter, Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog, lawmakers, and all others involved in the project.

Camacho also expressed his appreciation to DOJ and EPA for funding the project.

“This tank will provide the community with the most dependable water storage for generations to come,” he said.

Camacho emphasized that the tank is designed to withstand 210 miles per hour winds and earthquake risk category 4. “That’s huge!” he said.

Camacho said one of the benefits of this water tank project is an energy savings. He said it has a low maintenance cost.

“This is a water program but it is dependent on power. So it is imperative that we not only deal with the efficiencies of the water program but the efficiencies of operations to impact our power production,” Camacho said.

The As Terlaje water tank will supply water in the lower areas of As Terlaje, Chalan Laulau, portions of Chalan Pale Arnold Road or Middle Road, and Beach Road all the way to south Garapan (Kopa Di Oru Street).

The As Terlaje Water Tank will also be the source of water for the Kannat Tabla Tank via the new booster pump system.

The Kannat Tabla tank then supplies water in Kannat Tabla village, El Toro, Fina Sisu, and areas along As Lito and As Perdido.

According to CUC project manager Larry Manacop, the As Terlaje water tank, along with other Capital Improvement Projects in the Koblerville/Isley areas and CUC’s leak detection and repair program, are big reasons CUC is able to provide 24-hour water service throughout Saipan.

Manacop said the tank is built using specialized methods and quality control, resulting in a high-quality tank that will last generations.

“This tank will provide the communities with the most dependable water storage for generations to come,” Manacop said.

Manacop said one of the benefits of the tank is that a new bypass line was installed at Isley Booster-1 that allow wells to pump directly to the water tank.

“This allowed CUC to abandon the existing booster pump, thereby reducing the energy needed to convey water to the new tank,” Manacop said.

He said another benefit is having the new tank within the same overflow elevation as the Isley tanks and Puerto Rico; this will allow the new system to cover a bigger area.

Manacop said the installation of new flow meters at the inlet and outlets of the tank allows CUC engineering/operations to read actual demand/usage.

“This also allows CUC engineering to monitor flow and troubleshoot areas for possible leaks or water thefts,” he said.

Manacop said with the new flow meters, CUC engineering and operations were able to locate major leaks along Walumho Street.

He said with the findings and repair of the leaks, CUC was able to push water north and helped Garapan area get 24-hour water service.

A generator set is included as a backup during power outage.

An assessment of the old NMC steel welded tank’s structural condition was performed on July 30, 2007. Based on the report, the existing tank was determined to be structurally unsound and was taken out of service.

Manacop said the tank was removed and replaced with a new pre-stressed concrete tank that has the same overflow elevation as that of the Isley tanks (196 feet).

The existing ground contour is approximately 145 feet so therefore, a 51’ tank was recommended.

AIC Marianas Inc. is the contractor of the As Terlaje water tank. Ding Lacap and Boyet Cruz are the project manager and project engineer, respectively. DN Tank is the tank manufacturer.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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