Newburg scales back Independence water project — for now

NEWBURG –  The first phase of the Newburg water project will reach only part of those Independence residents who signed up for service.

The initial project will provide water to 26 of the 70 customers who signed up. The town still hopes to serve the others later.

Sheena Hunt, executive director of the Region VI Planning and Development Council, said the town will use Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program (AML) grant money to begin the project.  “The AML funds have been sitting there since 2012 and we were not sure how much longer it would be before they would be  pulled,” she said.

Morgan K. Coast of Vaughn, Coast & Vaughn, Inc.  engineers on the project,   said once the AML project gets under way the town is considering applying for Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service funds (RUS) to complete the project and provide water  to the remaining 44 customers..

Hunt said  she didn’t know whether the funds would be in the form of a grant or a loan.  “RUS is closed now due to the shutdown,” she said, “As we get closer we’ll decide if this is the best way to go.”

Coast said the route for the water line has also changed.  The original plan was to use one of the top water towers because it could serve 70 customers.  He said now a lower tower will be used to provide water for the 26 AML customers.

“We sat down and tried to work out which way would be the best way to go.  The engineer decided Market Street would be the shortest distance,” Hunt  said.  “The town will only pick up two customers  that won’t be covered by the AML funds.”  The original plans would have taken the line up Scotch Hill Road.

Newburg Mayor Edgar Fortney said Tuesday the town is currently working on obtaining rights-of-way for the line.  He said no starting date has been determined for the project.

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