Upshur OKs $8.7 million water project

BUCKHANNON — Adrian Public Service District received the Upshur County Commission’s blessing to move forward with a roughly $8.7 million project that would extend water to approximately166 additional customers in Randolph County.

With more than 100 customers limited to potable water towards the Pickens community, Nina Monroe, manager for Adrian PSD, said the proposed project would include extending waterlines to that community. Currently Adrian PSD provides water to a portion of Helvetia, going as far as to the Little Meadow Health Center.

“They do not (have potable water), especially in the Pickens area, and they do not have source water up there,” she said.

For folks out in the rural area, Monroe advised residents currently utilize well water and “a lot of them are hauling water.”

“This year has probably been a good year because we had a lot of rain,” she said. “Other summers like last year, not so good. They hauled a lot of water.”

Monroe explained the project would replace undersized waterlines within its system, as well as provide booster station upgrades.

“It will make about 10,000 feet of upgrading existing lines, and will upgrade two pump stations,” she said.

Out of the 166 potential customers, Monroe estimated half would be from the Randolph County area. The other half, Monroe said, is smaller line extensions in Upshur County that won’t entail a lot of added infrastructure, including no new tanks or booster stations.

“It’s about a 50/50 split as far as costs of the entire project,” she said.

With an approximate $8.7 million projected cost, Monroe said Adrian PSD will be applying for grants and loans for funding sources.

The PSD will be submitting an application to the United States Department of Agriculture for a loan in the amount of $4,900,000 and a grant in the amount of $3,700,00 with an expectation of $75,000 in local grant funding.

“We’re hoping for around 40-percent grant and 60-percent loan that we will have to repay over I believe they said a 38-year period,” Monroe said.

The “most optimistic” outlook that customers in the area would receive water is by 2022, she said.

“That is if everything goes perfect,” she said. “If the funding came through, and I need to increase purchase agreement from the City of Buckhannon which is a work in progress.”

Monroe advised Adrian PSD, which currently serves 2,100 customers, is the closest public service district to Pickens.

“For any entity in Randolph County to serve Pickens it would just not be feasible,” she said. “They would have to come across Kumbrabrow Forest and it’s not populated through there, so that would be extending a lot of waterlines where there are no people.”

When water started flowing through the pipes in 1989 for the first group of Adrian PSD customers, Monroe said roughly 464 residents were being served. The cost for that initial project was $4 million.

The proposed project will be considered phase eight in which the PSD will be extending water services.

“Phase seven was an improvement project, where we added two new tanks and did some upgrades to our system, so we extended to no customers in phase seven,” she said. “But for the others we have extended each time we’ve added customers.”

The next Upshur County Commission meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Aug. 23.