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PSD1 pumps water from Blue Hole, assures it is safe

District continues to seek water sources as it awaits dam completion

KINGWOOD — Public Service District 1 continues to seek additional water sources while awaiting completion of the dam at its primary water source.

Danny Layton, water operator for the district, told the Preston County Commission on Monday that the district pumped continuously from the Blue Hole to Impoundment 6 last week and was able to raise the water levels some in the impoundment.

Impoundment 6 became the district’s new water source in 2017, when the owner of the dam at Ruby Farms, the National Resources Conservation Service, said it was emptying the 48-year-old dam to replace it.

 Since then, the district has been faced with dwindling water supplies, complaints from customers about the quality of water and increased costs associated with water treatment and supply.

The district obtained the State Division of Natural Resources’ permission to pump water from the Blue Hole, a pond, to Impoundment 6. However, it is not allowed to remove a beaver dam at Blue Hole, which would make more water available.

Raising water levels at Impoundment 6 should dilute the level of manganese in the water, Layton said.

“The water is not unsafe,” Layton stressed. “We have everyone in this state and the federal government breathing down our necks, watching every move we make, watching every chemical that we’re feeding and how we’re feeding and how much we’re feeding. Our water is safe to drink. It may sometimes not be aesthetically pleasing, but it is safe to drink.”

The dam is a year behind schedule. If it were to be substantially completed by Dec. 31 — something Layton doesn’t expect — PSD 1 will seek state approval to close the gates and begin backing water up behind the dam. That’s a three- to five-month process, Layton said.

“So I’m looking at what we’re going to do for water until that,” he said.

The district is taking some water from the Clinton District Water Association. Some PSD 1 customers complaining about the condition of their water were already receiving Clinton District water when they complained about its quality, Layton said.

This week, Layton is also meeting with Kingwood Water. PSD 1 hopes to get some water from that system. The Kingwood Water Board will have to approve any water sale to the district.

“Kingwood can’t [totally] supply us, but they can support us,” Layton said.

The PSD 1 board of directors meets 2 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month at the water office in Arthurdale. Meetings are open to the public. Layton urged people to attend meetings and to call him directly at 304-216-9259 if they have problems with water quality.

 Also Monday:

  • Commissioner Samantha Stone said the State Division of Highways told her that the company under contract to repair a slip on W.Va. 72 should start moving in equipment this week.
  • Commissioner Dave Price said there is a problem with stream bank erosion at Bruceton Mills, which is being reported to the stream conservation agency.
  • Assessor Connie Ervin, Emergency Management/911 Director Duane Hamilton and Sheriff Dan Loughrie told commissioners the county’s aerial photographs are nearing four years old and out of date. The maps are used for flood plain mapping, tax purposes, by 911 when it dispatches police and emergency personnel, and by the public.

They estimated the cost at $45,000 and said it can be spread over two fiscal years. Hamilton said they would also like to get the county on a schedule to have the maps redone every five years.

Commissioners promised an answer at next week’s meeting.