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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

FEMA assigns over $40 million to PRASA to repair infrastructure, replace equipment

Doriel Pagán Crespo, executive president of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority

By The Star Staff

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded more than $40 million to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) to repair infrastructure and replace equipment damaged by Hurricane Maria that is intended to provide water management and services for several communities on the island.

“These renovations will greatly improve the quality of life and health of many communities,” Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero said in a press release. “Municipalities will be able to prevent or reduce sewage overflows along their roads and PRASA will have the resources to ensure that drinking water meets local and federal standards.”

FEMA allocated more than $37 million to repair a trunk sewer that originates in Isabela, passes through Aguadilla, Moca and Aguada, and extends to Rincón. The Isabela-Aguada sanitary trunk sewer, which provides wastewater services to more than 18,000 residents, is some 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) long, with pipes ranging from 21 to 54 inches in diameter.

The project will be carried out with a non-invasive technology known as cured-in-place pipe (CIPP), which consists of covering the inside of the pipe with a polyester or fiberglass lining.

“It is a method that does not require excavation, which minimizes the possible impact on traffic due to these works and extends [a pipe’s] useful life for about 50 years,” PRASA Executive President Doriel Pagán Crespo said.

To date, PRASA has successfully used CIPP technology to repair other sanitary pipes in areas such as Guayama, Ponce, Carolina and Loíza.

Meanwhile, PRASA’s Caguas Central Laboratory also received an allocation of more than $3 million to replace various analysis and testing equipment. The facility is the main water testing plant on the island and performs more than 200,000 sampling tests on both drinking water and sanitary sewage each year for the benefit of PRASA’s 1.4 million customers.

“Continuous sampling allows us to calibrate the plant’s operation and thus be able to confirm compliance with all applicable federal and state drinking water laws and regulations,” Pagán Crespo said.

The equipment to be replaced includes an incubator, laboratory freezers, centrifuges and environmental chambers, among others.

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