During delayed dam replacement, PSD 1 works on water quality

KINGWOOD — Public Service District 1 says it is doing all it can to keep water from its temporary source looking, smelling and tasting good for customers, but it is safe.
“I want to make it clear that, if you call, we’re coming,” PSD 1 Manager Dan Layton told Preston commissioners Monday. “But if you don’t call, we don’t know about it.”
Complaints can be made to the district by calling 304-864-3014 or on its Facebook page.
PSD 1 is drawing water from Impoundment 6, also called the Fairfax Ponds, while a $7.8 million project to upgrade its regular water source continues. That project, which is not under the district’s control, has experienced delays.
Layton and members of the PSD 1 board of directors told commissioners they aren’t happy with the sometimes tea-colored water customers are receiving either.
“In 43 years in this business, this is probably some of the worst water I’ve ever tried to treat,” Layton said. But it is safe to drink, he said, presenting copies of several lab reports, including some done on the water of people who called them.
Some customers have expressed concern about lab reports that Trihalomethanes (THMs) are in the water. The reports do not say, Layton said, “that you would have to drink 10 12-ounce glasses a day for the next 70 years, and it may or may not contribute to cancer.”
THMs are created by a reaction between chlorine used to disinfect the water and natural organic matter in the water. Impoundment 6 has more organic matter than the regular source.
The fix, he said, is flushing the system, and PSD 1 is working on that.
“Although it’s rusty looking, dirty looking water, it is bacterialogically safe,” Layton said.
The 50-year-old dam that holds the district’s regular source on Ruby Farms is being replaced. The original dam was built by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and is not owned by the district.
The impoundment had silted in, limiting the supply to the PSD. When work is complete, it will have 10 feet of water to draw on.
As an example of how little water was left in the Ruby impoundment, PSD 1 Board Member Mike Adams noted the contractor expected it to take 17 days to drain the impoundment, but it took only seven hours.
Other temporary water sources were considered before the work began, Layton said, but those alternatives would have cost $2 million or more. Alternatives included connecting with PSD 2, Masontown Water Works or Clinton District Water.
The health department approved Impoundment 6.
“So we’re doing the best we can,” Layton said. “If you have a problem please call me. I will not ignore your call or say you’re just crying, and we’ll pull samples, because I want the people of PSD 1 to have the best water possible.”
PSD 1 serves about 3,000 customers. Adams said the district has never been able to run its treatment plant at the 700 gallons per minute of which it is capable, but it can do that when the new impoundment is complete.
Also at the meeting, commissioners:
Appointed Mark Reed for the Preston County Economic Development Authority, representing the Town of Rowlesburg.
Awarded a contract to Delano’s of Terra Alta to install laminate flooring in the judge’s offices and WVU Extension offices.
Reappointed Shannon Wolfe, David Bolyard, Craig Rotruck and Ken Fultz to five-year terms on the county building commission.
Received a funding request from Kingwood Parks and Recreation to help with its summer camp, which serves 45-60 county children. No action was taken.
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