West Virginia’s Water Transportation System Problems

GHENT, WV (WVNS) — Some counties in West Virginia have water pipes that are nearly one hundred years old, according to the Appalachia Water Project. Some are so old that they still contain lead, according to a 2020 Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey. What will it take to get communities like the ones you live in the reliable water service they deserve?

Safe, secure drinking water is a basic human right. But unfortunately, not everyone can turn the tap and get the clean water they deserve.

From outdated infrastructure including pipes and treatment centers to boil water advisories issued on a fairly regular basis, the people of Southern West Virginia face daily struggles to get clean, reliable water.

So what can be done to fix this?

Marie Prezioso is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Water Development Authority. She said money is the key.

“We are a funding agency. So we provide either loans or grants for water or sewer systems that are public systems that are owned by not-for-profit entities like public service districts and municipalities,” said Prezioso.

Some of this grant money is currently being used by communities like in McDowell County.

There a project is currently underway on Route 52 to improve the water infrastructure.

Still, many communities are still in need of replacement water systems.

Prezioso said the WDA is tasked to find as much money as possible for water and sewer projects as they can.

“Governor Justice, who chairs the Water Development Authority Board and also the Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, one of his directions to us is to leverage as much state and federal funding as we can for projects, for water and sewer projects,” said Prezioso.

It’s not just the WDA that can help.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program also offers loans to assist with these types of projects.

The EPA also has a list of resources available on their website.

Prezioso told 59News several things are taken into account when determining the eligibility for grants including how much money people in the area make, how much the project costs, how much customers are currently paying for their water service, and ongoing operations and maintenance costs.

“Kind of hard, I really don’t have that statistic on what that might be. And you know, it’s gonna depend on a lot of factors. Also, you know, how old your system is, how efficient it is, and that type of thing,” said Prezioso. “So there are a lot of things that go into operation and maintenance that might vary from system to system.”

The size of the system and the number of customers impacted are also factors to be considered when it comes to replacing the lines.

Replacing an aging water system in our area is an ongoing project and one that will not be fixed easily.

Source link

Translate »