PIEDRA GORDA, Puerto Rico -- A construction crew repaired a bridge approach February 5 that enabled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) contractors to restore water service for over 40,000 residents.

"The original generator powering the system providing water to residents near Guajataca Lake failed and needed a replacement," USACE temporary power mission manager Travis Miller said. "New construction activity near the water treatment facility prevented Corps contractors from reaching and replacing the non-functioning generator despite trying several routes."

Miller said that a construction crew near the facility working on an unrelated project led by Del Valle Group's Benito Belen placed fill material that allowed contractors to use a bridge, move the replacement generator to where it was needed and restore the area's water supply.

On February 8, Recovery Field Office-Puerto Rico Deputy Commander Maj. Kimberly Giles and Operations Chief Timothy Rainey presented Belen with a certificate of appreciation for his work that enabled contractors to move and position the replacement generator.

"I'm glad to recognize Mr. Belen for redirecting his employees' work to assisting our team. He was just happy to be able to help people," Giles said. "Thanks to him, we were able to replace the generator much more quickly than if we had had to initiate a bridge repair."

Temporary power generation is one of several missions USACE is performing for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Puerto Rico in the wake of hurricanes Maria and Irma in September 2017. Other missions assigned to USACE include temporary roofing, debris, and repair of critical public facilities.