The governing board of the V.I. Water and Power Authority met Wednesday on St. Croix to approve two action items – contracts for a water treatment service vendor and a solar service provider.
Because the cost of the contract exceeded the executive director’s approval authority, the board was asked to approve a contract to Linde Gas for a decade’s supply of carbon dioxide that is being used to eliminate rust from the WAPA’s water pipes.
The territory has been plagued with rusty-colored water for years and the cause has been determined to be the authority’s out-of-date cast iron pipes that transport potable water to residents.
The process to solve the problem and to reduce the “brown water” involves injecting carbon dioxide to change the water pH so it does not interact with the cast iron pipes and slough off iron/rust particles.
WAPA is responsible for supplying carbon dioxide to Seven Seas Water to treat the potable water supply on St. Thomas and St. Croix and the board approved the 10-year Linde contract for $1,072,800.
The board also approved a change in the solar provider, St. Croix Solar LLC and St. Croix Solar II LLC to Gardner St. Croix Solar LLC. Under the original agreement, the companies were prohibited from transferring the agreement without written approval from WAPA.
According to WAPA officials, St. Croix Solar Companies assigned and transferred 100 percent of its equity membership interests to Gardner. The solar energy company Gardner Capital Solar has offices in St. Louis and Springfield, Mo., Atlanta and Dallas.
During the short meeting, Hugo Hodge, WAPA executive director, told the board the LPG conversion is progressing on both islands and work on the infrastructure is under way.
Currently the firewater pump system is being constructed on St. Thomas and should be completed in three weeks. Hodge said he expects permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be approved soon for St. Thomas.
Board President Gerald Groner pointed out that the National Fisheries have already signed off on the project.
Miles Plaskett, outside council for WAPA, said a contract to replace the territory’s streetlights with LED is being negotiated. Groner told the Source the contract should be finalized this year. The transition to LED would reduce the cost of streetlight electricity by 50 percent, he said.
According to Groner, WAPA has managed the streetlights for the last 10-15 years with funding from property taxes receipts that only “covers half or less to run the streetlights.”
Attending the meeting were board members Groner, Noel Loftus, Marvin Pickering, Gustav James and Elizabeth Armstrong on St. Croix, and Juanita Young and Cheryl Boynes-Jackson on St. Thomas.