The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA’s) power plants at Estate Richmond, St. Croix, and Krum Bay, St. Thomas, fared relatively well during the passage of Hurricane Maria on Tuesday and Wednesday. The plants provided uninterrupted electrical service prior to, during and after the hurricane’s.
The plants were on line Thursday supplying electricity to both hospitals, the Cyril E. King Airport and the Lockhart Elementary School emergency shelter on St. Thomas. At late afternoon, efforts were being made to energize the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix. On St. Thomas, portions of several feeders are also energized.
Over the next few days, WAPA will be assessing the damage to the electrical transmission and distribution systems in both districts as well as on Hassel Island and Water Island.
While the territory-wide assessment is being completed, WAPA will begin the process of planting new poles in critical areas to begin restoring service once a plan for restoration has been completed. The restoration plans cannot be developed until the damage assessment procedure is completed.
On St. Croix, WAPA water distribution crews are working to resolve an issue with water availability. WAPA personnel is now installing a standby generator to energize the Contentment pump station. Once functional, potable water will be pumped to St. Croix’s west end and allow the Kingshill tank to gain storage. The tank has been emptied by an apparent leak that developed during the hurricane. Electrical service has also been restored at the Richmond pump station, which will allow for the continued building of storage. Currently, there are 7.5 million gallons of water on St. Croix, which is a three-day water supply.
St. John has three days of emergency water storage. St. Thomas has two days of water storage. Customers in higher elevations will experience low pressure or no service at all until all pump stations have been restored with electricity.
The Seven Seas water production facility is fully operational on St. Thomas. Electrical service has also been restored to the Donoe pump station, and storage is being replenished there as well as at the storage tanks on Sara Hill.