City Hires Engineer to Solve Water Woes

Despite reservations about paying $3.67 million to renovate McMechen’s aging water plant, City Council voted 5-0 Thursday to pay an engineer to move forward with the plans.

“I want to provide this city with better water. We need to look at a filtration system,” Councilman Gregg Wolfe said.

Along with Wolfe, council members Nancy Boreman, Jill Hawkins, Alice Hill and Eric Thornton voted to hire Kevin Wilmot, a professional engineer with the firm HRG Inc. of Morgantown to help solve McMechen’s water dilemma. Councilwoman Pat Wilson was absent.

Mayor Michael Gracik previously said under the “worst-case scenario,” residents would see an average monthly bill for 4,000 gallons of water jump from $17.36 to $36 in increments over the next few years. The bills would likely not be that high for residents, though, because some of the cost would be passed on to Marshall County Public Service District No. 1, which purchases water from the city.

During the March 20 meeting and again Thursday, council members questioned Wilmot about the project’s estimated $3.67 million cost.

“I will only do the parts you want me to do,” he told them Thursday, just prior to members formally hiring him to proceed with the project.

“There is a lot of talking to be done among a lot of entities here,” Wolfe said. “Someone needs to talk to PSD No. 1. They are the biggest customer. If they are not on board, we need to know.”

After council hired him, Wilmot thanked members for the discussion.

“I can really tell that you guys are really concerned, as a whole, about what happens with any projects,” he said.

In another matter, Gracik said the city needs to consider adopting an ordinance to keep mud off the street. He said someone is washing trucks used in the natural gas industry, and that this is causing mud to run down some city streets.

Boreman added the city needs to spend street paving money more wisely this year.

“Personally, I think we wasted a lot of money last year on the alleys,” she said, adding some are in poor condition.