Cumberland Times-News

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July 12, 2013

W.Va. water system fix could result in 40 percent hike

FORT ASHBY, W.Va. — An overhaul of the Frankfort Public Service District water system would cost about $17 million and could result in a potential 40 percent increase to the water bill, according to Dave Vanscoy, director of municipal and transportation engineering at RK&K engineering.

“The rates in this area are very low,” said Vanscoy during a public meeting Thursday in Fort Ashby. “There is a big disparity in the rates and the district would like to get them uniform.”  

The water rates haven’t increased in Fort Ashby since 1994.

A comprehensive water study yielded that the water plant needs to be upgraded; some of the water tanks need to cleaned and painted; the pump stations need to be upgraded; and some of water lines need to be replaced.

“The unaccounted water is 20 to 25 percent over the whole system,” said Vanscoy.

The water treatment plant has had very little maintenance since 1994.

“It needs some serious maintenance,” said Vanscoy.

At the water treatment plant the filter beds, drains and pumping need to be rebuilt; work needs to be done on the sediment basins; and the computer system needs to be upgraded, Vanscoy said.

“A generator needs to be added so if there is an extended (power) outage they can continue to produce water,” said Vanscoy.

The water tanks and pump stations at Sunrise Heights and Deerfield Estates will be eliminated. A larger pump station would be placed at the bottom of Ashby Cresap subdivision and a water tank would be placed at Deerfield Estates, according to Vanscoy.  

A water line extension is definitely needed in the Bosley subdivision off  Dirty Foot Road because there is natural gas in the water, according to Vanscoy. A water line extension is used to pick up new customers.

Also, alternate water sources need to be considered. Currently, Patterson Creek is a water source but wells on Knobley Road are being considered as well as an old quarry on state Route 956.  

“The next thing is how to pay for it; that‘s a big problem,” said Vanscoy. “The availability of grant money is minimum.”

The grant eligibility for water projects is determined by the rates and an area’s median household annual income, which also determines the terms and interest on the loan. The median household income in Fort Ashby is $60,000, based on the 2000 census. The 2010 census hasn’t been adopted yet.

The Frankfort PSD will look at financing options and what needs to be done. Once they decide those matters, an application will be filed with the state by the end of August, Vanscoy said,

Frankfort PSD is accepting written comments at the office in Wiley Ford and anyone interested in a water line extension is asked to sign up.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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