Wellsburg official addresses local water concerns

WELLSBURG – Wellsburg officials have acknowledged the city’s water isn’t high quality but say that’s only temporary, while improvements are made to the water system, explaining the water is still safe to drink.

The topic didn’t draw much discussion from residents or officials at Tuesday’s Wellsburg Council meeting, but 2nd Ward Councilman Ron Michaux said he did receive a complaint from a resident who was filling his swimming pool recently.

City Manager Mark Henne said he and other city officials were surprised that a number of residents were filling their pools a little earlier this year. When they learned of that, they put out a notice to local media to alert them of higher than usual levels of iron in the water, he said.

The notice advised residents planning to fill their pools to call the water department at (304) 737-2143 first.

Dena Furioli, a clerk at City Hall, said a number of water customers said the company that supplies them chemicals for their pools has instructed them in addressing the increased iron.

Henne said the iron results in the water being discolored but doesn’t exceed levels deemed safe by regulatory agencies.

He also acknowledged the water has had a strong smell of chlorine but said it is safe to drink and a boil order isn’t required at this time.

“We’ve been sampling and testing the water and drinking it ourselves,” Henne said.

He said filters, clarifiers and other components of the water treatment plant are being replaced and the water quality will be affected until such improvements are made.

Plans call for the work to be completed in 60 days.

Upgrades at the water treatment plant are among improvements being funded through the sale of $3.2 million in bonds and a $2.5 million 20-year federal loan.

The funds also supported last year’s installation of larger water lines along Main and Marianna streets to increase water pressure for homes and businesses along them; and several valves that will eliminate the need for the city to shut down service to all or half the city when a water line break occurs.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com)