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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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WMA Board Moves to Keep Sewage Projects Flowing

The Board of Directors of the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority Friday moved to finish sewage projects funded in a 2010 federal Environmental Protection Agency grant.

The projects must be finished by the end of this September.

The decision was made after an hour-long executive session at which the board discussed the attributes of the remaining two candidates to be executive director. It was held at the Department of Public Works on St. Croix, appropriate because DPW was contracted in most of the projects.

The projects are not starting from scratch; the board approved changes in the half dozen ongoing projects and eliminated another.

The half-a-million dollar Barren Spot pump station and forced main project was not going to be done, according to a report from Steven Aubin, interim executive director, because there was not time to do it. He said, “There is insufficient time to execute the Barren Spot … project by the grant expiration date.”

The other five projects, controlled by a memorandum of agreement between WMA and DPW, had amendments that the board approved that would use the $6.3 million given in the 2010 EPA grant. Gustav James, commissioner of DPW and a member of the WMA board, remained silent during the discussion.

The projects and their designated scope of works changes for DPW, included:

– Cancryn pump station upgrade going from $1.2 million to $1.8 million

– Bordeaux waste water treatment upgrade going from $625,000 to $887,000

– Figtree pump station repairs and upgrades going from $3.1 million to $2.8 million

– Lagoon Street pump station upgrade from $604,300 to $862,000.

The board also agreed to amend the contract with INECO to upgrade several systems at the Figtree pump station. This includes work not covered in the original contract, such as upgrades in instrumentation and structures.

“Upgrades to this station are required as a result of deterioration from usage and age," Aubin said. "Major rehabilitation work has not been undertaken since its installation about 30 years ago.”

The approval of this contract brought the contract costs from $1.3 million to $1.6 million and also extended the deadline from finishing the project from July 7 to Sept. 1.

“The grant will continue to be used to upgrade the infrastructure and improve the operating efficiency of the Territory’s wastewater facilities and to carry out the requirements of the grant program goals,” Aubin said about the amendments approved by the board.

“I am glad we are using the funds we have to get projects done we need to get done,” board member LaVerne Ragster said after the passage of the two staff recommendations,

When asked when a final decision would be made on the new executive director, Chairman Norbert Rosado did not comment. 

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