What’s being done to improve water quality in McDowell County?

COALWOOD, WV (WVNS) – For many, when they need something to quench their thirst on a hot day, access to fresh water is not a problem. For others, access to clean water is not easy.

McDowell County is home to beautiful mountains and country roads. Amid this scenery, there are many people without good water.

While some have access to public water, others are still using well water since many houses are isolated in mountains.

Mavis Brewster, General Manager of McDowell PSD, said efforts about being made for good water quality and to solve the problems that lie in between. Brewster said good water quality is essential for growth.

“You can’t have a community or a county grow or build unless you have good water and sewer services. Sadly, McDowell County has not had that for years,” said Brewster.

One of the main problems with getting and maintaining quality water is the lack of funding. While loans are usable, water rates for customers are often raised to balance out the cost.

Since the opening of the McDowell PSD in 1990, 16 different loans were taken out, and some are still being paid off.

Currently, the goal is to get grant money to pay for upgrades to older systems and the overall water quality. Most problems with water quality in McDowell County revolve around many systems being outdated.

Brewster said some systems in McDowell County are very old and without good filters to clean the water.

“You have some systems, you know, you don’t have filters in the plants that aren’t operational anymore. So, the filters would take out the iron, the discoloration [. . .]. Some of the systems that we have, you don’t have that. The plant was just not set up like that. We have one plant that we’re operating in Kimball that’s probably a hundred years old,” said Brewster to 59News.

Brewster is hopeful and determined to provide the best quality of water to the people who live in McDowell County. She said she and her staff are working hard for the community.

“We’re doing all that we can to provide the best quality in the county. We’re working hard, we’re seeking funding. We have qualified staff members, operators that are working trying to provide the best quality of service,” said Brewster.

While hard work is being done to solve this issue, problems are still a reality. McDowell PSD is determined to fix this problem for those with public water.

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