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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor inaugurates first PRASA project funded by FEMA

By John McPhaul

Governor Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia inaugurated on Monday the rebuilt Buena Vista drinking water storage tank in Humacao, the first project of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) completed under funds granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), assigned after Hurricane Maria with an investment of $2.2 million.

“Today we evidence the mission of our administration focused on reconstruction, on doing work and on working with unity of purpose. Here we can see the commitment, effort and teamwork of PRASA, FEMA and COR3 to offer excellent service and improve the quality of life of Puerto Ricans. This work will offer stability in the drinking water service to the residents of Buena Vista in Humacao, as well as serving as a palpable example of the reconstruction, which is being repeated throughout the Island,” said Pierluisi Urrutia at a press conference.

The executive president of PRASA, engineer Doriel Pagán Crespo, added that “this project was made up of several phases, the first consisted of the demolition of the affected tank and its foundation; disposal of debris. In addition, it was complemented with an improvement project to the Buena Vista pump station that included the installation of an additional pump, an increase in electrical capacity to achieve greater efficiency in operation, a telemetry system for continuous monitoring and an emergency generator. The new tank has a storage capacity of 363,281 gallons, and its design and construction comply with the new construction codes revised after the passage of Hurricane Maria.”

“It fills us with great satisfaction to see that our joint efforts with the PRASA for the recovery turn into concrete results that directly benefit the communities. Today we recognize how nearly $2 million approved by FEMA for this project translates into a stronger tank that will provide drinking water to some 1,600 families in the Buena Vista community in Humacao. We have a firm commitment to the municipalities, the state government and its agencies to advance the recovery at a constant pace,” said the federal coordinator for Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico, José Baquero.

The director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3), engineer Manuel Laboy Rivera, thanked the work teams of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, COR3 and FEMA, because their efforts allowed the first PRASA reconstruction project will be completed, which strengthens the infrastructure and gives energy resilience to the tank that supplies thousands of families with drinking water, said the authorities in a press release.

“This reconstruction project is an example of multiple permanent works being carried out on the island as part of the resilient transformation of critical infrastructure that will allow continuity of services, as well as rapid recovery in the event of a natural disaster,” Laboy Rivera said.

“After many meetings that I held since I assumed the position as representative and today as mayor of Humacao with heads of agencies, including the Resident Commissioner in Washington, public hearings and looking for all existing alternatives, today the project of the Tank in the Buena Vista area which was worked for the benefit of the adjacent communities of Palacios del Sol, Palacios del Mar and Buena Vista. After several years of continuous work, I am pleased to announce that the water problem that has been afflicting these communities of Humacao for a long time has finally been solved, thus fulfilling my commitment and responsibility to attend to the demands of my people,” said the mayor. from Humacao, Reinaldo “Rey”, Vargas during the inauguration ceremony of the tank.

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