Cumberland Times-News

Local News

July 16, 2014

Hampshire providers looking into backup water systems

City of Romney, Valley Health among those seeking alternative sources for customers

— ROMNEY, W.Va. — Hampshire County Commission President Steve Slonaker told the commissioners Tuesday that the Central Hampshire Public Service District board is investigating the feasibility of getting a backup water source for its customers.

“The board has been offered a little more than an acre of land (adjacent) to North River. I believe the river has a large natural spring in it,” Slonaker said. “This is something they want to pursue in the future. They have water from Green Spring, but that’s a long way.”

Slonaker said engineering has been done in the past but an engineering cost study would have to be done before any decisions are made.

Commissioner Bob Hott said, “I firmly believe they should be doing this. People in this area don’t realize the importance of a water backup system. This is going to be a big concern in the future.”

Slonaker said he appreciated that endorsement and said, “Water may be our biggest asset in Hampshire County.”

Valley Health is planning on building a water tank at the Hampshire Memorial Hospital site in Hampshire County, said Crystal Larson, HMH administrator.

Larson said continued use of water is essential to properly run the hospital.

“A water tank would allow us to have continued water source, for instance, if there is a boil water advisory or an outage happened in the area, we would be able to provide folks here at the hospital as normal,” Larson said.

 Larson said there is a lot of things the hospital can’t do without water.

“We can’t do surgery, we can’t sterilize our instruments, we can’t bathe, and we have to use bottled water at hand washing stations,” Larson said.

Larson said plans are to have the tank in place by the end of the year.

The city of Romney is also planning a backup in case something should happen to its South Branch River water source.

Mayor Dan Hileman said the city is currently working with Dan Ferrell, project manager and partner of Thrasher Engineering, Clarksburg, to dig a well at the city water treatment plant located in Indian Heights.

“We hope there is an adequate aquifer,” Eileen Johnson, city administrator said.

An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock from which groundwater can be extracted.

What is needed is a feasibility study and assessment, Johnson said.

“We are factoring this in with our next project,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the well would serve as an alternate water source for the city’s customers.

The city is preparing for the future, said Terry Lively, executive director of Region 8 Planning and Development Council, Petersburg.

“A few pieces of legislation have passed mandating water systems do a study and have a (backup) source of water protection plan,” Lively said.

“Right now, it’s in its infancy. They want it done by next year. The regional council throughout the state is working with bureaus of health to assist different providers to prepare for the study.”

Lively said detailed information and rules regarding the bill have not yet been provided.

The bill was born just after a chemical spill contaminated the water supply to more than 300,000 people last year in Charleston.

In other business, Slonaker said Camp Walker, a 10-acre campground in Frenchburg, has been refurbished and remodeled.

“The only thing left is (installation) of water and sewer. They are shooting for September,” Slonaker said.

Slonaker said the camp has retained its rustic and historic atmosphere.

The Division of Justice and Community Services has awarded $20,000 to help fund the prevention resource officer at Hampshire High School.

The commission received a letter from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin saying the Justice Assistance Grant was provided by the Division of Justice and Community Services.

Linda Nixon, attendance, student services and PRO director with the Hampshire County Board of Education, said Jamie Carter is the PRO officer this year.

“We (the BOE) work with the county commission and the sheriff’s department to pay for the PRO officer,” Nixon said.

Nixon said the PRO officer’s pay and benefit package totals around $80,000.

Marla Pisciotta can be contacted at

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