State, Federal Reps. Respond to Wyoming Co. Water Woes

Feb 7, 2014

Congressman Nick Joe Rahall is looking into the water situation in Alpoca/Bud in Wyoming County.

The long-term fix, known as the Covel project, will bring a new transmission main to serve the Bud/Alpoca area. The Eastern Wyoming Public Service District (PSD), in partnership with the Wyoming County Commission, has taken steps to repair the existing water system.

Congressmand Nick J. Rahall (left) visited Virginia Lusk (right) and Herndon Consolidated to find out more about the water issues.

The Covel project has nearly a $5.7 million price tag, all of which – except for $125,000 – is Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funding.

The money comes from a tax coal companies pay meant to help  resolve public safety issues such as hazardous highwalls, or mining-impacted water resulting from mining before 1977.  Such practices were established by the Surface Mining and Control Act and the creation of the Office of AML&R in 1981.

Rahall visited Herndon Consolidated  School in Bud and the Pentecostal Church of God in Alpoca Friday to meet with residents and share the long term plans.

Short Term Solutions

State lawmakers are weighing in as well. Senator Mike Green is hoping to reassure folks on the Alpoca Water Works system that they are not being ignored by state government.

Green's office sent out a release to share the work being done a state level to try and put an end to 'bad water'.

Last week, Senator Daniel Hall and I had a discussion with Adjutant General James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard regarding the water situation in the Bud/Alpoca area of Wyoming County.  Last Friday, the General dispatched a water expert to the area to assess the situation and determine what help could be made available. While we await those results, I want to assure the people of Wyoming County that this issue isn't being ignored on the state level.
   
This week I spoke with Chairman Mike Albert of the West Virginia Public Service Commission. During that conversation, Chairman Albert said that the PSC is close to issuing an order related to water service that would not only help the residents of the Bud/Alpoca areas but also Covel, Herndon, and Herndon Consolidated School.
 
After the water problem is resolved at the source, the next step for the National Guard will be developing a process for flushing the lines because of the system's lack of hydrants.

I want to stress to all of the citizens in Wyoming Counties - especially those affected by the present water issues - that you are not being ignored by your Government. "While the Charleston Water Crisis seems to be receiving the attention statewide, I will not allow your issue to be ignored. It is my hope that this issue, which has been going on for far too long, can be resolved sooner rather than later."
 

Customers in Bud and Alpoca, including Herndon Consolidated, have been on a boil water advisory for more than five months.

As we reported earlier this week, National Guard representatives met with Wyoming County Emergency Director Dean Meadows.

Meadows told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that, unfortunately, the residents are not experiencing an emergency.

"We don’t want to sound unsympathetic to the people of Bud," Meadows said. "We’re very sympathetic and we want them to know that we are doing all we can and I’m very appreciative of the attention that they are getting but to put them in an emergency situation where the state starts putting in water, who is going to bear that expense and where does it end when other communities are involved."

The Logan County PSD has been working to restor water quality to the system by adding chemicals to the water, installing flush valves, etc.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says Alpoca Water Works has not filed a consumer confidence report in at least three years. Every community public water supply system that serves at least 25 residences year round or has 15 service connections must prepare and distribute a CCR once each year.