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MUB pursuing funds to extend water service in Cheat Lake area

MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown Utility Board is hopeful it can work with the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council to bring water to 30 or so homes near Cheat Lake. 

Specifically, the properties are located off Rugh Lane, Lubbuck Lane and Longhorn Lane in the Morgans Run area.  

During its Tuesday meeting, the utility’s board of directors authorized an application for a $2 million IJDC Critical Needs grant as well as a loan of approximately $2 million to construct a water line extension estimated in the $3.7 million range. 

The loan would also come through IJDC. MUB General Manager Mike McNulty said MUB would propose a 40-year repayment period and a 1% interest rate. 

The IJDC was created in 1994 to be West Virginia’s funding clearinghouse for water and wastewater projects.

If the grant is awarded and the project ultimately moves forward, the borrowed portion will be paid back through surcharges on customer water bills in the new service area. 

“They do have to provide signed user agreements and they did come back to us with those agreements,” McNulty said. “The general interest is there. Enough for us to say ‘Yes. They’re serious about the project and they want to go forward.’” 

There are 35 or so homes in the area. So far, MUB has received 27 user agreements. 

McNulty conceded this scenario will spread a significant debt to be collectively paid by relatively few rate payers. 

The properties in question currently have low-producing wells, many of which contain high iron and manganese content. Both minerals impact the color and flavor of water. 

“The amount of money they’re spending hauling water right now way surpasses what this surcharge will be,” Assistant General Manager Rich Rogers said.  

In other news, MUB is moving forward on Phase II of a sanitary sewer project in The Meadows, a community of some 285 homes located in the Maidsville area. 

At $327,996 Stone Paving was the lowest of six bidders for the work, which will include 3,100 feet of eight-inch PVC gravity sewer main, 80 single sewer connections and two double sewer connections. 

MUB Communications Director Chris Dale said the work is expected to begin after the first of the year.