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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

San Lorenzo neighborhood to benefit from $85 million drinking water project

Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority Executive President Doriel Pagán Crespo (Gov. Pedro Pierluisi/Facebook)

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced on Monday an $85 million agreement between the island Housing Department and the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) that will guarantee sustained access to drinking water for residents of the Espino neighborhood in San Lorenzo.

The investment comes from the federal Infrastructure Mitigation Program (CDBG-MIT). During the announcement, the Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez and PRASA Executive President Doriel Pagán Crespo were present.

“As part of our efforts to repair, rebuild and revitalize infrastructure throughout Puerto Rico, we have identified a series of important projects that seek to ensure resilience and availability of the services that the people need, particularly our most vulnerable residents and communities,” the governor said in a written statement. “Today, I announce the establishment of a new works agreement between the Department of Housing and the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, under which we will achieve a water infrastructure project for our good people of Barrio Espino.”

“This is a strategic project with the objective of supplying water to the communities of Barrio Espino, achieving sufficient entry of raw water, improving existing infrastructure and building new infrastructure that meets the needs of its residents,” Pierluisi added.

The Housing secretary noted that “the mitigation funds assigned to Puerto Rico are to address and prevent situations that threaten the population.”

“Today, with this agreement, we show once again that the recovery funds are serving those who need them most,” Rodríguez said. “Likewise, we enable access to a resource as vital as water, while we improve the quality of life of this community so that they can carry out their daily activities without interruptions.”

The Department of Housing, as custodian of federal allocations under the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program, is responsible for financing infrastructure mitigation measures that ensure that our citizens have access to those very necessary services, such as water.

Meanwhile, the executive president of PRASA stated that “at the Authority, we are making large investments to improve aqueduct systems, so that customers enjoy reliable service.”

“This project adds to the 288 projects in total, of which 68 are already in the construction stage in different parts of the island to optimize our systems and benefit customers throughout Puerto Rico,” Pagán Crespo said.

The project -- which will benefit about 17,000 residents -- will be divided into two phases: in the first, improvements will be made to the Emajagua River water intake, a transmission pipeline and pumping stations will be built to transfer water from the Farallón plant, and a new distribution system will be built for the Espino Sur area.

In the second phase, the distribution system for Espino Norte will be built, as well as a 250 million-gallons-per-day water pumping station and a new treatment plant, both on the Emajagua River, also known as La Brunette.

San Lorenzo Mayor Jaime Alverio added that “even before I became mayor, I was very shocked that a large part of the Espino neighborhood did not have drinking water service.”

“It is important to emphasize the fact that the area with residents without service has an extension of more than five square miles -- this represents an area similar to the territorial extension of the entire town of Florida [in Puerto Rico],” he said. “This situation adversely affects the quality of life of our citizens. This project represents the largest project in the history of San Lorenzo in three aspects; investment, infrastructure and social justice.”

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