By Matthew Young, RealWV
County Commissioners, along with Public Service District (PSD) #2, want to bring potable water service to 400 unserved residents of Greenbrier County’s Meadow River Valley. While water line extensions between Sam Black Church and Asbury, as well as Charmco and Rainelle have been designed, and funding has been secured, the project still needs more resident-participation to become reality.
A recent statement from PSD #2 advised that, “Both projects are aimed at providing water service to those currently without a public connection, but the Charmco to Rainelle project will also serve as an interconnect with the Town of Rainelle, which can provide a secondary water source for the area in case of emergency.”
“Those extensions, though, are reliant on residents signing up for water service before plans can be finalized,” the statement goes on to advise. “To make the projects viable, a majority of potential customers in each area will need to participate.”
In short, this means that the water line extensions, once completed, must be financially sustainable.
Throughout the fall, a series of public meetings was held to discuss the project, the last of which on Nov. 13 at the James Chapel United Methodist Church. Commissioners Tammy Tincher, Lowell Rose, and Blaine Phillips were on hand to provide details and answer questions, as were representatives from PSD #2. Representatives from the project’s engineering firm, The Thrasher Group, were also in attendance.
Benefits of the project were discussed, as were the concerns associated with its completion, and pricing comparisons were made with nearby water service systems. A full video of the public meeting is available on the Greenbrier Journal’s YouTube page.
As of the time of writing, less than 200 residents have signed up for the proposed water service, well below the number necessary to green-light the project. Assuming the required number of sign ups is reached, Commissioner Tincher, through a post on social media, provided some additional clarity regarding a potential timeline for the project’s completion.
“The project will be submitted by the end of the year for review,” Tincher wrote. “ETA for water after permitting, bidding, and construction will be 2025.”
While speaking with RealWV on Saturday, Tincher said that, “The project covers a large area, and with the increased cost for materials since the COVID outbreak, the total project price is over $20 million. We’ve committed about $2.5 million from Greenbrier County’s ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds for the project.”
Tincher noted that the County Commission, PSD #2, and representatives from Thrasher have been working to source and secure grant funding for the project in an effort to keep costs down, but added that the only way to guarantee that rates stay low “is for as many residents to commit to water service as possible.”
“Some residents are satisfied with their well water, and that is perfectly fine,” Tincher said. “But others have significant issues with sediment and discoloration, along with limited volume.”
According to Tincher, the initial service contract for those signing up will be for a period of five years. Residents who sign up for water service, but who wish to continue utilizing their well, may do so. The service contract begins once water is turned on at the meter.
“Continuing the water line from Charmco to Rainelle, and Sam Black to Asbury along Route 60 and Route 12 will provide a utility that residents in these areas have needed for quite a while,” Tincher said, adding that the standard $300 connection fee will be waived for residents who sign up for service prior to the water line’s installation.
“We want to make sure that clean water is provided to as many people as possible along these routes,” Tincher added.
Residents wishing to learn more about the water line extension projects, or interested in signing up for water service, should contact Greenbrier County PSD #2 at 304-438-9283 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.