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    Monday, May 21, 2018-7:16:18P.M.






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Riegel: Saipan changed my life

THE outgoing chief engineer of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp said Saipan changed his life in a significant and good way, adding that it was an honor to serve CUC.

In his farewell letter, John Riegel expressed his gratitude to the administration and the Legislature.

His last day of work at CUC is July 28.

Riegel first arrived on Saipan in 2012 and was hired by CUC as chief engineer.

In his letter, Riegel said he loved working for CUC as it tried to improve its infrastructure on Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

John RiegelJohn Riegel

“I intended to write to you to let you know personally before it wound up in the newspaper, but [my resignation] was leaked while I was off island on vacation. Now that I am back, I would like to take the opportunity to let you know that my time at CUC as its chief engineer is coming to a close. I loved working at the utility…. Most of my work was on Saipan, in this community.

“I came to Saipan in 2012 and was immediately accepted into this wonderful community that is alive with diverse cultures and beautiful people. Saipan changed my life in a significant and good way. Saipan became my home and I became close with everyone I met. I did not want to leave at this time but circumstances changed for me, and this forced me to make the hard decision to leave CUC before I wanted to,” he said.

“Serving as your chief engineer was an honor. It was a pleasure working with you, and I deeply appreciate the tremendous support you have shown me over the years. I am so sad to be leaving, but circumstances are such that it is time to leave, albeit an inopportune time. I will have with me the memories of life on Saipan. I will always keep what I learned and experienced here. I will miss working together toward the common goal of improving the lives of all in the CNMI.”

Riegel said he hopes that he has served the community well.

“I know within engineering, we have made important improvements in the delivery of water and the handling of wastewater. I would like to have seen through more of the many projects in various stages of progress to witness the real improvements. Together, we have accomplished much.”

Riegel said among these are the construction of $38.6 million in water and sewer system infrastructure improvements, including 40,000 linear feet of water main, four water booster stations, four water storage tanks, 12 pressure reducing valves, 4,000 water meters, the renovation of 16 lift stations, the elimination of three lift stations, the replacement of 4,500 linear feet of sewer main and the purchase of $1 million worth of water and wastewater system materials such as valves, pumps, controls, fittings, repair parts.

“We gave structure and order to the leak-detection program, made it robust and effectively and systematically detected leaks and made repairs in eight tank-service areas to save approximately 500,000 gallons of water per day. We worked to craft a master plan to address deficiencies and created a plan to effect repairs with minimal grant funds,” he said adding that he also had the honor of leading CUC through Typhoon Soudelor as the acting executive director at that time.

Riegel recalled witnessing the “unfailing dedication of all the CUC staff and the community, joining together to dig out from that calamity.”

He added, “I will miss you all.”