Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 29, 2014

New pipe to save town funds

POCAHONTAS, Va. — Neighbors started helping neighbors early Monday morning when work got underway to replace several hundred feet of water line that was new before the Titanic was built.

Workers were removing approximately 400 feet of water pipe in downtown Pocahontas, Va., Vice Mayor Jerry Gravely said while excavation was underway.

“It’s from Center Street, in front of the town hall, up past the Laundromat,” Gravely said. “We have had several leaks in this area and the major leaks are right in front of the Rodriguez Funeral Home. What we’re doing is putting in a replacement (water line). We’re afraid the funeral home could be having a funeral when the water line broke; then we would have a mess. We’re trying to prevent that from happening.”

Some of the water lines being pulled from the ground were under the original brick pavement that was put down during the early 1900s, Gravely said. This would make some of the lines more than 100 years old.

“I don’t know exactly when they put the bricks down. I’m 75. They put it down at least 25 years before I was born,” he said.

Gravely said the town of Bluefield, Va., and the Tazewell County Public Service Commission helped the town of Pocahontas with the replacement project. He extended a special thanks to Town Manager Mike Watson of Bluefield, Va., and to Dahmon Ball and Darrell Cole of the Tazewell PSA.

Work started between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Monday. Both the town of Bluefield, Va., and the Tazewell PSA had scheduled that day for the work. One member of the crew removing the pipes said the project had started just in time.

“One worker said it was a good thing we were replacing it. It was on the verge of a major leak,” Gravely said. “It’s going to save us a lot of money once we get the line in, and by we, I mean the town of Pocahontas. Once water goes into the ground, you’re not being paid for it.”

Workers hoped to have the project finished by the end of Monday or by noon today. Customers in the vicinity of Center Street did not have water, but the rest of the town still had service. The new lines have to be flushed, chlorinated and tested for bacteria before the water flowing through them can be used, Gravely said.

“I call it neighbor helping neighbor when you get three entities together to do a project of this size,” he stated. “Every time we have a major water leak, they have never refused to help us.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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