Old Point Blanche water tank being demolished to make space for the new ones

In photo: Minister Cornelius De Weever with GEBE Management and contractors at the site in Point Blanche.

A delegation comprising of Minister Cornelius De Weever and GEBE management made a site visit last week to the location in Point Blanche where the two new water tanks will be built. Currently the old tanks are being demolished to make way for the new tanks.

The demolition of the last old tank will be completed early February 2013 after which excavation works will start followed by the construction of the foundation and the concrete tank floor which according to the planning will be completed end of May 2013. The assembling works of the tanks will start early June 2013. Leeward Island Construction Company will carry out the civil works for the contract amount of ANG 330,000. The first tank has been shipped in parts to St. Maarten, where it arrives the end of this week (February 1, 2013).

Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever stated that he is very happy with the progress being made thus far as they are collaboratively ensuring that drinking water will be available mainly to the inhabitants of the Point Blanche area, and the Eastern area of St. Maarten there will be no more risk of water shortage with the construction of these two new tanks.

In August 2012 a three-way agreement was signed between Government, GEBE and Air-Fin/Seven Seas Water providing detailed arrangements of the supply, installation, commissioning, operation and ownership of the two water tanks. Each tank has a capacity of 3000 m3. The tanks are constructed of double sided "glass-fused" steel. The fused glass enables a protecting layer with no oxidation of the inner surface and as result safe storage of drinking water with no discoloration, as well as a low maintenance outside tank surface, reducing therefore the cost of operations and maintenance. The tanks will be built to withstand high winds experienced in hurricanes as well as for seismic tremors in earthquake prone areas. The tanks are manufactured by Florida Aqua Store, a tank specialist. In complying with the agreement Government issued in long lease the parcel of land for the water tanks in Pointe Blanche, while Seven Seas Water will supply the tanks, with GEBE building the foundation and supervising the entire project. The pre-structural design was done by Independent Consulting Engineers, the structural supervision will be in hands of Florida Aqua Store. Once completed, the tanks will be owned by government and operated and maintained by GEBE.

Government, GEBE and SSW are pleased that the project is now moving forward because the tanks will improve the water storage and distribution system for the people of St. Maarten. The installation of additional water storage will also take some pressure off of the reverse osmosis plants, which until a new plant is built, will be operating practically nonstop.

Once in operation the tanks will add to the present storage capacity and will service the area of Pointe Blanche, the Harbor, Philipsburg and surrounding areas. The location of the two tanks is also in considering the Pointe Blanche Harbor area as the location for a new water production plant. The project for the expansion of the drinking water production capacity in Point Blanche, on the cargo premises, with two new reverse osmosis units has also started. Air Fin is searching the area for the best location for the feed water wells for the plant.