Ravencliff-McGraws-Saulsville Public Service District members decided Thursday to use as its new permanent water source a Sabine mine on property owned by the Upper Laurel Fire Department.
The decision will provide plenty of water for the 1,400 customers served by the system as well as reduce construction costs substantially, according to officials.
The Sabine mine will be able to provide an estimated 1.6 billion gallons of water for the system, Wyoming County commissioners learned during their meeting Wednesday.
Funding for the emergency construction project is now set to include $472,800 in crisis grant funding from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council contingent upon the project being awarded a $500,000 emergency grant from the West Virginia Rural Water Association, with another $27,200 from the IJDC to cover soft costs, among other funding sources.
Gov. Jim Justice was instrumental in obtaining the emergency funding for the project, according to Eric Combs, of the Region I Planning and Development Council.
The fire department is willing to donate the property to the PSD for the project, officials said during the commission meeting.
Additionally, Appalachian Power Company will install a new power source at the Sabine mine at no cost.
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The initial source selected was an abandoned mine in John McGraw Hollow. However, the prohibitive costs of installing a new power source at the site as well as ongoing right-of-way issues were stalling the project, officials said Wednesday.
Costs to get electricity to the John McGraw mine source were estimated at $150,000 and power company officials were unsure if they could design and install a new power source for the site by the estimated June 1 completion date.
The completion date is now estimated to be in May, Combs said.
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Problems began in December when the system’s longtime water source, located inside another mine, began to dry up. The intake source was moved to another location within the same mine, but the water supply did not improve.
A temporary water source, located in a stream near the plant, required testing that resulted in a boil water advisory on the system for several weeks.
The boil water advisory has since been lifted and, barring unforeseen circumstances, officials believe the stream source will provide enough water while construction is completed to the Sabine site.
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The Ravencliff-McGraws-Saulsville water system serves 1,400 customers, but that would easily include more than 2,000 people, according to officials.
Customers include Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Twin Falls Resort State Park, Wyoming Continuous Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Wyoming County East High School, Glen Fork Elementary and Middle School, and an assisted living facility in Glen Rogers.
Communities impacted include Jesse, Matheny, Sabine, Glen Rogers, Glen Fork, Ravencliff, Saulsville, McGraws, Key Rock and New Richmond.