Provide Aid To Weirton

Weirton officials had hoped they could remedy a serious problem with the city’s sewer system for as little as $3 million. But the price tag will be much closer to $12 million – and that will be an enormous burden on Weirton residents and businesses.

Last spring it was learned untreated sewage had been flowing into the Ohio River from Weirton, through a section of sewer line of which city officials had been unaware. Apparently the line was installed about 50 years ago – and forgotten.

State water quality officials were upset, to say the least. They ordered Weirton to correct the problem and threatened to levy fines against the city. To their credit, state officials did not impose the fines. That was because of quick, decisive action taken by city officials.

But the state has vetoed Weirton Sanitary Board proposals for relatively inexpensive projects to correct the problem. In order to meet state requirements, the city will have to spend about $12 million.

As matters stand, it will require steep increases in sewer rates to pay for the project.

We hope that can be avoided. State and federal funds for such work are available. We have no doubt sanitary board members will attempt to obtain them.

We urge both state and federal funding agencies to look favorably upon any application from Weirton. Frankly, we think this is a situation where federal “stimulus” money could be spent appropriately.

The project can be started soon and will provide jobs. In addition, “stimulus” funding would help Weirton residents and businesses – and thus, the local economy.

Whatever the mechanism used to provide it, state and federal assistance is merited by Weirton. It should be provided.