City signs deal with pipeline company

Buckhannon Water Board OKs agreement


BUCKHANNON — Before signing the water system improvement project agreement with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, the Buckhannon Water Board heard concerns from two residents.

Inside the lengthy agreement, installations, requirements, responsibilities and other details were presented.

Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley stressed that the purpose of the water board is to provide the customer with water, and in this case the customer is Atlantic.

“We were going to have to deliver that water to their temporary water tank that they were going to spend a million dollars and some change on to build, and instead of that we sat down with them and said ‘look, before you spend this million and plus dollars we’ve got these improvements in our queue that we need to make to our water system anyway that our residents were going to pay for anyway. How about we partner to provide you this water by expanding our water line system to let you be able to test your lines without you building that temporary facility,'” explained McCauley.

Before making a motion to sign the agreement, McCauley asked for further discussion.

Abigail Benjamin, a Buckhannon environmental lawyer, and Buckhannon resident April Keating expressed concerns about the agreement.

Benjamin questioned item number 27 in the agreement, which states a mandatory pre-construction meeting with the board, Atlantic, contractors and the board’s consulting engineering firm is required before beginning construction activities.

“I am begging you to make that a public meeting. I’m sure you might do that, but if we just put that in the agreement, I think safety of clean water is increasingly important, and even though you are doing the steps, we need to have that transparency to a community,” she said. “I think that’s an easy amendment for you to offer, and I just really beg you to just put a small phrase that meeting will be public.”

McCauley said he did not have any issue with the meeting being public, as “all of our meetings are public as a practical matter.”

“I don’t know if we need to state that it’s public, but that adjective doesn’t bother me,” he said.

As president and co-founder for Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, Keating asked the board several questions regarding the agreement, including queries about whether the water will be filtered before it goes back in the watershed.

Some of Keating’s questions and concerns were addressed; however, other questions were referred to the WVDEP or another agency.

“The reason I’m asking these questions is so that we know that we have thought of and asked all these questions before agreements are signed and construction begins,” Keating stated.

Board member Eric Wagner made a motion to authorize the mayor to sign the agreement, and David Thomas seconded the motion.

The Water System Improvement Project agreement will soon become available on the City of Buckhannon’s website under city board agendas and minutes.

According to the agreement, the ACP is requesting that the water board provide Atlantic and their subcontractors with 1,000 gallons of potable water per minute, which will allow ACP’s subcontractors to perform hydrostatic pressure testing. To conduct the pressure tests, Atlantic is requesting an overall total of approximately 4,300,000 gallons of potable water.

In order to meet those requirements, the water board will need to design and construct a new booster pump capable of providing a flow rate of 1,000 gallons per minute. Also, according to the agreement, the water board will need to install 6,900 linear feet of PVC water distribution piping to connect to the existing water distribution system in the Brushy Fork Road area to the new water distribution, which will provide potable water at the ACP Brushy Fork connection point.

The installation of a new Early Warning Monitoring System is also included in the agreement. The water board will need to install the monitoring system in the Buckhannon river below and near the ACP’s crossing of the river between Hampton and Sago.

According to the documents, Atlantic has agreed to provide the board with all monies necessary to study, design and construct the components of the Water System Improvement Project.

However, the water board is responsible for acquiring all necessary construction and permanent right-of-way easements required for the project. Atlantic will be responsible for any costs associated with acquiring construction and right-of-way easements.

Once completed, the water board represents and warrants that the project will meet all requirements of the Public Service Commission, the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the water board and any other applicable regulatory agency.

The agreements states, “Atlantic agrees to indemnify and hold the water board harmless of, and from all claims, causes of action, liability or damages of any kind arising out of, or in connection with, Atlantic or its employees, agents, or contractors entering upon the water board’s property or damaging water board facilities.”

The water board holds responsibility for collecting the necessary water samples from the water project for analysis, and will provide Atlantic a complete set of contract documents and submittal drawings of the project, according to the agreement.

The water board agreed that construction of the project will be completed by Nov. 1, unless Atlantic and the board agree in writing to a time extension.

The last item on the agreement states, “This agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of West Virginia without giving effect to the choice of law principles thereof.