Cumberland Times-News

January 3, 2013

Leak source of problems in Hampshire

Solving one water line obstacle leads to another for officials

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— AUGUSTA, W.Va. — Businesses, residences and the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail have been without water since early Monday morning because of a leak, according to James Hoffman, general manager of the Central Hampshire Public Service District.

“In opening and closing the water lines, we caused a leak somewhere else,” said Hoffman, who added that the original valve was shut off so that the Hampshire Center Nursing Home and Hampshire Memorial Hospital in Romney could have water.

The jail was provided with a water tank so that water could be boiled and used, according to Hoffman.

“I’ve been in touch with the jail every day and last time I spoke with them they had drinking water on site,” said Hoffman.

A big leak was fixed Wednesday but Hoffman and his crew of three have been actively looking for the second leak.

“We are doing everything we can do,” said Hoffman. “If it was up to me, we wouldn’t be in this situation.” 

The leaks were caused by a water system that is 30 years old, according to Hoffman. If the aging water system is replaced, the water rates would have to increase, he said.

“Replacing the system is something that we are definitely going to be talking about in the future,” said Hoffman.

The PSD is a branch of county government but doesn’t receive grant or tax money for day-to-day operations and is totally self-supporting, according to its website.

The PSD is a nonprofit organization with funds coming from the rates that are charged. The rates are set by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

Currently there are no water restrictions, but Hoffman is asking people who have water to conserve it. He is also asking that any large puddles be reported to the PSD at 304-496-8882.

In November, there was a large water leak and 10,000 gallons of water a day was lost, according to the Hampshire Review.

The PSD has 1,250 water customers and 675 sewer customers, according to the website.

The jail houses 200 inmates from Hampshire, Grant, Hardy, Mineral and Pendleton counties, according to the jail website.

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