History of Existing Water Plant, Plans for Improvements Noted

Six Moundsville residents were among eight individuals who broke ground 11 years ago (Jan. 5, 2006) for the new city of Moundsville Water Treatment Plant, and this past Tuesday five of the six were in attendance at the city council meeting when an ordinance was passed on second and final reading to undertake upgrades to the plant.

Two members of the water board then are still serving in that capacity. They are current board Chairman David Haynes and Secretary-Treasurer Jim Stultz, while Jim Woods is the water superintendent, the same position he held when construction of the treatment plant was started. Denny Wallace was the Moundville mayor in 2006 and thus was an ex-officio member of the water board. He remains a water board member, having succeeded Tom Ferris. The other local person who was among those breaking ground is then-City Manager Allen Hendershot, who is now a Moundsville City Council member.

There were actually two ceremonies that day, one at the site of the new plant and the other at the National Corrections and Law Enforcement Training and Technical Center within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary. The latter location is now known as the Training Center.

Woods announced at the groundbreaking that work on the project would begin on Feb. 1, with a completion date of 18-24 months.

As to the project, Woods said the decision to build a new treatment plant was the culmination of 10 years of planning and design, and that it would be a true milestone achievement for the city.

He said, “When completed, the project will be one of the most technologically advanced water treatment plants in the state, providing a safe drinking water supply for the city and Greater Marshall County for years to come.”

The overall financial package included a federal grant, an Abandoned Mine Lands grant from the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection, along with loans from the West Virginia Water Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.

A two-tier rate increase was approved by council, with the initial increase having started a month prior to the groundbreaking and the second increase to go into effect once the plant was operational.

Woods explained that the plant would have advanced treatment technology for the control of iron, manganese, disinfection by-products, taste, odor, color, hardness, bacteria and pathogens. Also, that operations would include ozonation (for pre-treatment oxidation, pathogen, deactivation); coagulation and flocculation (for chemical conditioning); a multi-media/automatic backwash filtration system (for particular separation); and high-pressure nanofiltration (for hardness removal and submicron particule separation).

Well, like any piece of equipment, especially those which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, replacement is necessary, and in the case of this plant the filters had a life expectancy of 10 years. As a result, the water board decided plans needed to be prepared for this system and this past month asked city council to approve a water rate increase which in addition to replacing filters, would include a new well and improvements to the infrastructure system, since some of the water lines throughout the city have or reached or are nearing 100 years of age.

As to the new well, Woods stated at Tuesday’s council meeting that a new well should be able to pump 600 million gallons of water a day.

Stultz said that some of the monies generated by the rate hike will go to two mandated projects.

Seven individuals spoke against the rate hike, the majority explaining they were on a fixed income and that an increase of 22 percent to their water bill would be a hardship for them, while others wanted council to delay the rate and instead try to receive grant funding.

It was pointed out at the meeting that the 22 percent figure was somewhat misleading, as for those currently paying $16 to $20 monthly water bills, the increase would be in the $4 to $5 range which would mean they would be paying in the vicinity of 15 cents a day more.

Those in attendance were also informed that because the city’s monthly rates are so low, the city doesn’t qualify for any grants.

It seems like at every Moundsville City Council meeting, whether a regular or a subcommittee meeting, that the Four Seasons Pool is discussed.

It happened this past Tuesday when new Councilman Phil Remke proposed that the pool be closed down, citing that the city is losing money every day the pool is open.

Mayor Eugene Saunders Sr., who is also a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, informed Remke that since the pool was not on the agenda, a vote could not be taken at this particular meeting The mayor instead stated that such an issue should first be presented to the finance committee.

Vice Mayor David Wood pointed out that council two weeks previously had voted to have City Manager Deanne Hess evaluate the pool, along with the entire parks and recreation operations. Those to be involved in the evaluation are members of the parks and recreation board.

During the city’s manager’s report to council, Hess expressed hope that members of council would work together as a team and by doing so she believes matters can be better addressed.

She also encouraged council members to contact her with questions or concerns between meetings rather than wait until the next council and thus the issue could hopefully be addressed sooner.

Hess highly commended city employees for their work, noting  that none has rejected any recommendations she has made.

She also said that all council members are invited to attend the upcoming Legislative Breakfast, to be held at Grand Vue Park, sponsored by the the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC), the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce and Grand Vue Park.

Hess announced that the second annual Community Day event would be held on Aug. 26. She said last year’s event, held at Riverfront Park, was very successful despite the fact that it was planned in just a few weeks. Hess said the planning for this year’s event has already begun.

The Marshall County Family Resource Network will hold its general membership meeting at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the FRN office building, 1501 Second St., Moundsville.

The meeting is a way to share information and to learn about activities and programs going on in the community. Each person in attendance will have an opportunity to briefly discuss their organization. Those attending are encouraged to bring their business cards and any materials they would like to distribute to the group.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by either calling 304-845-3300 or email to marshallcountyfrn@comcast.net.

The Marshall County Girls Basketball club is making plans for their 26th spring season. The goals of the club are to develop fundamentals, play good competition and have fun.

Membership is open to girls in grades 4-8 who reside in Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Brooke and Tyler counties in West Virginia, and Belmont, Monroe and Jefferson counties in Ohio.

Teams would play games within 50 miles of Wheeling beginning in late February and continue through the end of April.

According to Dave Gaudino, the club works around student/athletes academic and athletic schedules.

Anyone desiring further information is asked to contact Gaudio at dgaudino@stratuswave. net by this Saturday.