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U.S. Senate Committee Hears From W.Va. Water And Wastewater Developers 

Jessica Lilly
US Senate Field Hearing in Beckley, W.Va. on Oct. 14, 2021.

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee learned more about the challenges of rural infrastructure at a meeting in Beckley on Thursday. The committee heard from state and regional administrators who work on water and wastewater projects, every day.

Committee Chairman Tom Carper of Delaware joined ranking U.S. Senate member Shelley Moore Capito to assess drinking water and wastewater services in the region.

The committee was also joined by Sen. Joe Manchin to hear from a panel including ; Todd Grinstead, with West Virginia Rural Water Association, Jason Roberts with Region One Planning and Development Council and Wayne Morgan with the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council.

The speakers explained the unique logistical challenges of the region along with some possible solutions.

Brown listed seven main challenges including aging infrastructure, declining population, rugged topography, artificially low water rates, lack of piping maps, aging workforce, inability to retain workers, and lack of technology.

He also offered possible solutions including system consolidation, more frequent and sustainable rate increases, and system mapping.

The Committee often cited the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which passed the U.S. Senate in April but has yet to pass the House of Representatives.

The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hosted another hearing on Friday, in Delaware.

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