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Multi-Million Dollar Boone, Lincoln Co. Project to Bring Public Water to Hundreds

Ashton Marra
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Boone County Public Service District Chairman Toby Waller, Potesta Engineer Micheal Smith and a member of the Morrisvale Volunteer Fire Department help located area resident's homes on large maps.

A $4 million project on the Boone and Lincoln County border will soon bring public drinking water to some 215 homes in the area. The Morrisvale-Woodville expansion is expected to go to bid this fall and be completed by November of 2016.

A partnership between the two county Public Service Districts, County Commissions and West Virginia American Water, the extension, which will begin in Boone County, will cross the county line to pick up some 40 residents the Lincoln County PSD has not been able to serve.

The project is funded by grants from the Boone County Commission and WVAW, but a majority of the dollars are being provided through federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund, a program through the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

The fund collects a small percentage of money for each ton of coal mined and sold across the country. Those dollars are then used on projects in areas near mines abandoned before the late 1970s. 

Located just a few miles from the old Cameo Mine, most of the area qualifies for the aid to help replace their wells, some of which are filling with iron, turning red and becoming unusable and undrinkable. 

"A lot of folks buy bottled water in stores and bring it home to drink. The water is not good out of these wells," Boone County PSD Chair Toby Waller said. "[When you have] public water that is regulated by the state, you know when you turn the water on you’re going to get clean water, good water.” 

The project will not only improve the quality of water the residents of the area have access to, but it will also improve public safety, Waller said. The plans include the installation of fire hydrants every 1,000 feet.

So far, about 130 of the 215 eligible households have signed user agreements for the project. Those agreements allow the new customers to forgo any cost to connect to the new system, called a tap fee.

Instead, they’re agreeing to pay a minimum one thousand dollars for water service over three and half years, or just less than $24 a month. 

An engineer with Potesta & Associates, the Charleston engineering firm that designed the project, estimated construction to begin in March 2016.

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