Major Mountain State water company proposes $32.5 million in upgrades

West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — On June 30th, West Virginia American Water (WVAW) officially filed an application with the West Virginia Public Service Commission, and it’s for an ambitious project.

It’s a plan for 2022 with a price tag of $32.5 million dollars in investment for infrastructure replacement and system upgrades.

According to WVAW, a breakdown of what residents could expect are: $18.6 million dollars to upgrade and/or replace 38 miles of water mains; $4.2 million dollars to replace fire hydrants and service lines; $4.8 million dollars to replace water meters; $2.5 million dollars to fund additional storage tanks; $2.2 million dollars for investment in troubled water systems; and $200,000 dollars for a booster station.

“I think that it’s a pretty good idea… wondering about the initial cost really,” says Benny Maynard of Huntington, West Virginia.

According to WVAW, if passed, these changes could mean a reduction in surcharge rates by nearly five percent—from 6.60% to 1.87%, to be exact.

This reduction could translate to about $2.34 for the average residential customer using 3,100 gallons of water.

Local residents seem to have a similar response to the plan:

“I think it’s necessary if they do upgrades and stuff that way something don’t happen with our water with the new pipes and stuff. It could be you know, nasty,” says Amanda Lucas of Huntington, West Virginia.

“That’s a good thing, that way we’ll have good fresh water and that’s very important, especially during these hot days and everything,” says Mike Hatten of Huntington, West Virginia.

“To improve the water quality, I think it’d be a great idea,” says Angela Giacomo of Huntington, West Virginia.

The prospect of a lower surcharge is also attractive:

“I think it would be a good thing if it would save our residents money. If it would save us on our bills, yes absolutely,” Lucas says.

“I could see that it would be good for the future,” Maynard says.

“We’ve gotta have fresh water ma’am. That’s very important. And they’ve done a good job,” Hatten says.

This case is now active with the West Virginia Public Service Commission, and if approved the new surcharge would go into effect in March of 2022.

There is no word yet as to when the commission will take this matter up, nor when a decision will be reached.

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