Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

August 23, 2013

Finished! Water to flow to 400 in Oakvale area

— Clean drinking water will finally flow today to another 400 households in Mercer County as part of the Mercer/Summers Phase IV A and Kellysville I and II Extension Water Project. That’s excellent news for those families who up until now have had to rely on wells for water.

Many of these wells do not produce water suitable for consumption, and others were contaminated, according to Pamela Browning, manager of the Oakvale Road Public Service District. When water samples from the wells were tested, the examinations revealed e-coli bacteria and coliform bacteria. Both types are hazardous to human health.

A valve turning ceremony is planned for today at 11 a.m. at the East River Ruritan Building to mark the completion of the latest phase of the regional water project. Work on the Mercer/Summers Phase IV A and Kellysville I and II Extension Water Project started in October 2011. The project had a price tag of approximately $7.1 million.

The project begins in the Hilltop Drive area near Princeton and extends into the Poplar Grove area around Goodwin’s Chapel Road, the town of Oakvale, a small section of the Cheesy Creek area, a section of Route 12 down off Oakvale and through Kellysville.

In all, about 400 customers will be served by the water line extension.

Work on the pipeline started with a design from the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, according to information with the Region I Planning & Development Council. Funding was provided by the Oakvale Road PSD, West Virginia American Water, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grant, a grant from the Governor’s Contingency Fund, an Appalachian Regional Commission grant, and a HUD Small Cities Block grant. Both the Appalachian Regional and the HUD grants were administered by the state. There was also a loan from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council.

Today’s valve turning ceremony doesn’t mark the end of the decade-old Mercer-Summers Regional Water Project.

Funding is now being sought for another water extension project in the Elgood-Cheesy Creek area. Residents of that area attended the Aug. 13 meeting of the Mercer County Commission to ask for help finding the money needed for the work. The project, which is Phase B, is separate from the project opening today, according to Browning.

Region I estimates the Elgood-Cheesy Creek project would serve up to 162 households.

Today, we celebrate the completion of the Mercer/Summers Phase IV A and Kellysville I and II Extension Water Project. The long-awaited flow of clean and safe drinking water to these communities in need is worthy of rejoicing.

But we also look forward to the continuation of this regional water project, and the pursuit of additional funding to finance phase B, to assist families living in the Elgood and Cheesy Creek communities who are still in need of a reliable source of clean and safe drinking water.

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