Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 6, 2013

Reliable infrastructure: Water to flow to Windmill Gap

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Clean drinking water will soon flow to several additional families in Mercer County. Bids were advertised last week by the Bluewell Public Service District for the new Windmill Gap Water Project.

The project will extend from Coaldale Mountain — near the border of Mercer and McDowell counties — to the Windmill Gap community. It will serve a number of families in the area who have been fighting for a clean and reliable source of drinking water for years.

The first of the two contracts up for bid includes approximately 43,646 feet of 6-inch water line, 2,650 feet of 2-inch waterline, valves, hydrants, meters and other equipment. A second contract will consist of a 56,000 gallon elevated water storage tank and foundation, fencing and equipment.

All of the families currently on the small, community-operated system in Windmill Gap will be connected to the new county system, according to Bluewell Public Service District Manager Bryan Rotenberry.

Even better news is the fact that the two contracts are being 100-percent funded by a grant from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Abandoned Mine Lands Act. That means there is no added cost or expense to Mercer County for the development of this much needed and modern water system.

In this day and age of shrinking grant and loan funding pools, any and all state and federal dollars that can be secured for critical infrastructure improvement projects in our region are welcomed and strongly encouraged.

We congratulate the Bluewell PSD on securing this critical grant funding, and we strongly urge all Mercer County officials to actively fight for any and all state and federal grant dollars that are available in both Charleston and Washington.

When it comes to building modern roads, bridges, water, sewer and broadband systems, we must leave no stone unturned in the search for all available dollars.

In the meantime, it is our hope that construction can begin soon on the Coaldale Mountain to Windmill Gap Water Project. All families in our region deserve to have access to a clean and reliable source of safe drinking water. Families living in the Coaldale Mountain and Windmill Gap communities have waited long enough for a reliable source of water.

It is hard to believe that in the year 2013, there are still many families and communities in our region that lack modern water and wastewater treatment systems. Unfortunately this is the case. That’s why all efforts must be made to find and secure local, state and federal dollars to assist these communities that still lack modern water and sewage-treatment systems.