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Counties’ officials cautious, thankful in storm’s aftermath

July 3, 2012
By Anthony Gaynor - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Although Elkins residents feared a water shortage on Saturday, customers of Harding-Norton-Jimtown Public Service District faced that reality early Monday.

Curtis Elmore, a representative of the Public Service District, said the water supply was exhausted at around 5:30 a.m. The outage affected 750 customers in the Norton area, 500 customers in the Junior area and the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

A widespread power outage that resulted from Friday's severe storm left some towns and PSDs unable to pump water to their storage facilities.

"Our main reservoir ran dry," Elmore said. "I want to thank all the residents for their water conservation."

Electricians with Master Service Mid-Atlantic were at the site on Monday hooking up generators to help the plant pump water. Drinking water, donated by Anheuser-Bush, was made available at the Coalton Volunteer Fire Department, and was distributed with the assistance of the National Guard.

On Monday, Coalton remained without power and the Elkins Fire Department covered the Coalton Volunteer Fire Department in case of any structure fires in that area.

Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor also was at the PSD to offer assistance with getting the plant operational.

"Things are starting to come back together," he said. "The water shortage is the most critical."

On Saturday, officials with the city of Elkins were concerned that the plant there would run out of its reserve and not be able to pump more water.

Elkins Mayor Duke Talbott said water reserves were down to 5 feet in the storage tanks and that could have caused major issues.

"There wasn't enough water to where we could have fought a fire," Talbott said. "We never considered shutting the plant off, we were just going to run out of water.

"We are pumping water now," he said. "What happened to the water plant is a prime example of why we are working on a new plant."

Elkins Operations Manager Bob Pingley said the plant pumped water continuously for 17 hours to fill the reservoir with 4.4 million gallons of water.

"Elkins is pretty much back to normal," he said.

Elkins Fire Chief Tom Meader said the department spent much of the day on Monday resupplying their trucks and doing "after storm maintenance." He said the department responded to 44 calls in the aftermath of the storm.

"We didn't have any power lines down," he said. "We had a lot of down trees."

Contact Anthony Gaynor by email at agaynor@theintermountain.com.

 
 

 

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