Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 31, 2014

Regulators reject proposals for drinking water projects

RODERFIELD — Federal regulators have rejected several proposals to fund drinking water projects in four southern West Virginia counties, but McDowell County officials are hoping a slated water project in the Big Sandy and Roderfield area will not be rejected, too.

The rejected projects are funded with money from the Abandoned Mine Land program, according to the Associated Press. Federal officials have said West Virginia has not shown that the projects are really aimed at remedying water supply damage caused by coal mining before the passage of a 1977 strip mining law.

The rejected water projects are in Logan, Nicholas, Preston and Wyoming Counties. Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection have said they are working with local water systems, consultants and the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to provide more data for the projects that were rejected.

A McDowell County water project designed to provide service to more than 500 residents in the Big Sandy and Roderfield areas is not on the list of rejected projects, said Mavis Brewster, director of the McDowell County Public Service District.

“We haven’t heard anything yet,” Brewster said Friday. “It’s under review with the OSM.”

The OSM is reviewing all water line projects that have not gone to construction yet, she said. The McDowell County PSD was told this review could take up to 50 days.

“We’re hoping the review will go through without any problems,” Brewster added. “We’re looking to go to construction with the Big Sandy/Roderfield project in the fall.”

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