Peavey: Claim that CUC ended up replacing whole tank a misunderstanding
Acting Commonwealth Utilities Corp. executive director Dr. Dallas M. Peavey Jr. described as just a misunderstanding a claim that one of the three water tanks that was damaged during Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018 just blew a cover at the top, yet CUC ended up getting a grant to replace the whole tank instead of just replacing the cover.
Peavey explained in an interview last week that the new water tank on Tinian was installed because the old tank’s damage from Yutu was not just on the cover at the top, but structurally the whole tank.
“The older tank needs to be replaced. But you cannot replace the old one until you [have] the new one,” he said.
At a joint hearing by the Senate and House of Representatives’ Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications committees last month, Rep. Vincent S. Aldan (Ind-Saipan), who chairs the House PUTC Committee, disclosed that one of the transition team members looked into the water tank project and found that the cover of one of the tanks had been blown off when Yutu hit the CNMI.
Aldan, who also served as leader of the CUC transition team, said when they came out to assess the project, it was determined that all they needed was to replace the cover.
“It’s probably going to cost $100 or something like that, instead of the million-dollar-tank that we got,” Aldan said.
Northern Marianas Housing Corp. corporate director Jesse S. Palacios disclosed at the hearing that for CUC’s three water tanks replacement project, the total allocation from the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery grant agreement is around $20 million for the three tanks combined.
Palacio said the two water tanks are located in Kagman and Dandan on Saipan, and one on Tinian.
Peavey said the new water tank on Tinian was brought in with the understanding that over the period of time CUC would only do temporary repairs to the old one until they can get the new one built. He said they just got the new water tank completed.
“I think there was only a misunderstanding. I don’t know where the information came from,” Peavey said.
He pointed out that the old water tank was just repaired to maintain service in the area until they could get the new one.
Peavey said the Federal Emergency Management Agency funded the water tank replacement project on Tinian and Saipan.
According to the CUC transition report, the Tinian water distribution system is supported by two 0.5MG reservoir capacity, four pressure reducing stations, and one deep well currently utilized by the U.S. Department of Defense.
One of the older steel welded tanks has been recently decommissioned in preparation for construction of a new 0.5MG prestressed concrete tank. The new 0.5MG tank is part of three separate tanks that are funded under the NMHC’s CDBG-DR Program.
The CUC transition team reported that among the challenges in CUC’s Water Division is the construction of a new prestressed concrete storage tank to replace the existing steel welded tank. The new tank will augment the existing 0.5 mg to better serve San Jose Village, Marpo Heights, West San Jose and future homestead development.
At present, the 0.56 MG reservoir at Carolinas Heights provides redundancy and adequate pressure to residents, according to the transition report.
The transition team has underscored the need for constructing a shop or dedicated space for crews to store tools and equipment, conduct mechanical repairs, welding, and fabrication.