Staff report

NORTHFORK — An infrastructure project which will bring water to several McDowell County communities, the Elkhorn Creek Phase II water project, is now underway, officials with the McDowell County Public Service District said Tuesday.

The Elkhorn Creek Phase II project will consist of approximately 16,200 linear feet of ten-inch water mains, 15,600 linear feet of 8-inch water mains, 18,100 linear feet of 6-inch water mains and 19,800 linear feet of 2-inch water mains to service 112 existing PSD customers in the communities of Upland, Kyle, and Powhatan, 163 customers in the the Town of Northfork and the community of Algoma and 101 customers in the City of Keystone.

Project cost is approximately $6,330,000, according to McDowell County PSD officials. The funding for the project is as follows: an ARC grant of $1,800,000, EDA grant of $1,750.000, SCBG of $1,500,000, RUS grant of $1,180,000, McDowell County EDA grant of $50,000 and a McDowell County Commission grant of $50,000.

The engineering company for the project is E.L. Robinson and the contractor is Tribute Contracting. Funding for the project is being administered by Region I Planning and Development. The new system should be fully operational by December 2021, PSD officials said. Upon completion of the project the customers in the Northfork, Algoma, and Keystone communities will become customers of McDowell County PSD.

Since this project will replace water systems that are nearly 100 years old and there are no existing maps for the current systems, some water line breaks will likely occur. Should that happen, the repairs will be completely as soon as possible, PSD officials said. It is recommended that residents keep an emergency water supply for sanitary and drinking purposes during construction.

Residents in the communities can expect a visit from the project inspector to discuss meter location and recommendations for replacing service lines. The PSD strongly urges all residents to replace their existing service lines since the project will bring an increase in water pressure, according to the announcement Tuesday.

A copy of the PSD’s Service Line Replacement requirements will be available through the project inspector, the town halls at Northfork and Keystone, and by mail if a request is made to the PSD office.

This project has been a complicated process in acquiring funding, transferring water systems from Northfork, and Keystone, and in design itself. Completion of the project will be long awaited relief to the residents in the all the communities especially Keystone who for many years have experienced frequent water outages and have been on a boil water advisory for many years due to lack of proper chlorination and treatment of the water, PSD officials said.

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