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Op-Ed: CEO Smith Responds to Lawsuit with Commitment to Solutions for St. Croix Water Customers

WAPA CEO Andy Smith

Editor’s Note: This week, the Source reported that more than a dozen St. Croix residents have filed a class action lawsuit against the V.I. Water and Power Authority and Seven Seas Water Corporation over lead and copper contamination in the island’s water supply. The following statement from WAPA Chief Executive Officer Andy Smith is in response to the filing:

“We, at the Authority, are disappointed that amidst these challenging circumstances, there are those who seek monetary gain by exploiting the evolving situation impacting the people of St. Croix. WAPA, however, remains focused on change and improving the quality of water for our customers on St. Croix. In response to the recently filed lawsuit, the Authority would like to reiterate that every moment spent away from implementing solutions is a moment lost at the expense of our residents.

It is crucial to emphasize our demonstrated urgency and commitment to transparency regarding water quality. From the outset, we acted swiftly, implementing immediate measures to address concerns. We have prioritized open communication, participating at the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Dialogue and the Informational Session held on St. Croix, and most recently launching the Clean Water Action initiative, which can be found at www.cleanwaterusvi.com. Our actions demonstrate our dedication to ensuring the safety of our customers. Additional outreach efforts have included the recently held virtual townhall, weekly radio interviews, running radio Public Service Announcements, text alerts, social media updates, press conferences, televised educational advertisements, FAQ handouts in multiple languages, and press releases, among other initiatives.

The collaborative effort by numerous local agencies and financial allocation by the 35th Legislature has been critical in a successful first phase of relief with distribution of water vouchers valued at $100 for WAPA water customers in the impacted areas on St. Croix. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, EPA and other local and federal partners, sharing information that support our proactive efforts including providing faucet filters and pitcher filters for our water customers. WAPA will remain steadfast in our commitment to openness, honesty and providing clean drinking water to all our customers.”

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