BEECH BOTTOM - Funding is being secured to establish a backup water supply for more than 13,000 customers in Beech Bottom, Wellsburg and the Hammond Public Service District.
Bob Sadler, a Beech Bottom councilman and superintendent for the Hammond Public Service District, told Beech Bottom Council on Tuesday that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the Brooke County Commission have agreed to provide funds still needed for the estimated $170,000 project.
The news comes following a meeting with Tomblin attended by Wellsburg City Manager Mark Henne, Wellsburg Mayor Sue Simonetti, Beech Bottom Mayor George Lewis and Sadler.
Sadler said the project will establish links between the water suppliers that may be opened temporarily when each supplier's water source is disrupted by line breaks or other mechanical failures, power outages, floods and other problems.
"It will strengthen all three water suppliers because now they have a backup plan," he said. "It can help to keep schools and businesses open (when line breaks and similar problems occur) and keep fire protection intact."
Over the last three years Sadler and others have solicited funds from various sources.
In addition to the three water providers, contributors include the Brooke County Economic Development Authority, Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack; Chesapeake Energy and grants secured through County Commissioner Tim Ennis (while he was in the House of Delegates), Del. Roy Givens and Del. Phil Diserio, both D-Brooke; state Sens. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg, and Orphy Klempa, D-Wheeling; and the state Infrastructure and Job Development Council.
Sadler said the county commission has been asked to serve as official sponsor for the project and is checking on legal issues related to that and a permit from the state health department is needed.
Once those two conditions are met, bids may be sought for a contractor, he said.
Designs for the project have been completed by E.L. Robinson Engineering of Weirton using $11,000 provided by the Wellsburg and Beech Bottom water boards and Hammond board.
Plans call for links to be established between water lines serving Beech Bottom and the Hammond district.
A third link, between Hammond and Wellsburg, that was to be included in the project already has been done at their expense to address some maintenance issues Wellsburg had.
Sadler said Hammond already has benefited from the link, as it was used when the district experienced mechanical failures during an electrical storm this summer.
Sadler said during the project's early planning, lines and hydrants in the three areas were tested to ensure they could convey water to the additional areas by gravity flow. Had pump stations been needed, the project would have been much more expensive, he said.
Lewis praised Sadler, saying, "He's put in so much work and sweat into this."
Sadler said the project is part of an ongoing team effort.
He said the late Brooke County Commissioner Bernie Kazienko was a strong supporter, and Lewis also helped, particularly after Kazienko's death.
Sadler added credit also should go to the Jacob family for allowing a connection on their property in Wellsburg; and Barbara Zimnox, a community development specialist with the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, who is assisting with the required paper work.
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