Ministry VROMI busy with lowering water

In ponds, waterway hard-surfacing, trench cleaning and district clean-up

Head of the Infrastructure Management Department of the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Claudius Buncamper, Emergency Support Function (ESF-3) says that his department is working on several fronts in preparation for the Atlantic hurricane season.

Two out of three of the storm water management pumps in Philipsburg are fully operational. The third smaller pump has a hydraulic leak and technicians are working to repair it.

Lowering water levels in the ponds are on-going and has been taking place from 7.00pm to 3.00am. Every effort will be made not to open the Great Bay Channel this season especially now with the storm pumps in place and fully operational.

The pumps have the capacity to lower the water levels in the ponds by six inches per day running 24 hours. Buncamper added that the Ministry has an excellent working relationship with the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS) where they receive additional weather related reports/advisories especially where it concerns anticipated heavy and consistent rainfall.

"Once the Ministry receives a lead time of 72 hours that inclement weather is expected, we are able to turn on the pumps and lower water levels within a relatively short period of time in anticipation of the additional rainfall," Buncamper pointed out.

The Ministry has also embarked upon a pre-clean-up exercise in the districts of Beacon Hill, Simpson Bay and Cole Bay, and other districts will follow. The schedule of the clean-up is published in the Government Information Page in both daily newspapers. Residents should take note of the dates and check their yards and surroundings and clean-up in preparation for what is expected to be a busy hurricane season.

With respect to waterways, trenches and drains, these are being readied. Buncamper says that hard-surfacing of the main drains are currently taking place and is an on-going affair.

Civil works is continuing on the Coralita Road with crews working 12 hours a day seven days a week to complete a 400 meter stretch by the end of July.

Work on trenches will start soon and all trench cleaning would be completed prior to the beginning of the busiest part of the hurricane season at the end of July.

The landfill is not an issue and contractors are already in place to carry out post-storm clean-up operations.

Buncamper reminds the populace that the hurricane season has begun and the first named storm of the season is currently impacting the U.S. State of Florida, which is a vehement reminder that you have to be prepared and to finalize preparations in the coming weeks in the event of a hurricane strike. Remember, it only takes one hurricane strike to make it a bad season.

ESF-3 is part of the 10 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) that forms the country’s disaster management system. The ESFs are the first response team in the event of a national disaster.

The remaining storm names for the 2013 season are: Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

The 2013 hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.