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WV American Water launches project map to show upgrades around state


The Weston News

WESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water customers in Lewis County can now utilize an interactive web-based map of the company’s 2017 infrastructure upgrade projects. This user-friendly map allows people to view details about water main replacement projects and other capital investments throughout the company’s service area.

The Weston regional water system serves approximately 12,700 people in Lewis County, as well as providing water to Jane Lew Public Service District as a bulk sales customer. The system’s service area is nearly 50 square miles, providing water service to the city of Weston and surrounding communities in Lewis County, including Georgetown, Walkersville and Crawford, in cooperation with the Lewis County Economic Development Authority.

“Often our customers do not necessarily see their water bills at work because we may not be upgrading infrastructure in front of their home, or we may not make it obvious that nearby construction work is a water system improvement rather than a sewer, natural gas or even road improvement,” company President Brian Bruce said. “We developed this map to provide details about all of our current projects statewide through a map that is accessible from any computer or smartphone.”

West Virginia American Water is investing $62 million in capital upgrades to water and wastewater infrastructure and system operations this year. That is an average of close to 1,000 feet of water main being replaced each working day. It is the company’s most aggressive annual infrastructure replacement plan in decades.

Two Lewis County projects are scheduled in the next few months. On Pratt Street, they will be replacing 2,700 feet of aging water main with new 6-inch PVC pipe at a cost of $360,000 with an anticipated start date the first week of July; a $171,000 project to replace 2,600 feet of water main on Homewood Hill is slated for this summer.

These investments include those paid for by the company’s Distribution System Improvement Charge that became effective Jan. 1 on customers’ water bills.

Weston City Manager Kristin Droppleman believes this feature will be helpful to residents in the future as more local projects are added to the map.

“I think it will be a great asset. It keeps them updated on the local projects, and I know we have some in the works right now, at least one of which will be starting soon. I think it will help customers see the cost of bringing water to new areas,” Droppleman said.

Under the improvement charge program, the company will invest $18 million to replace water mains, and $4 million to replace service lines and hydrants, among others. Customers pay a 1.09 percent surcharge on their monthly bills to help fund these projects.

“It’s no secret that much of the water infrastructure across the country is aging and in need of repair or replacement,” Bruce said. “Our engineering and operations teams work closely with our communities to identify problem areas and put plans into action to upgrade our systems and infrastructure, which benefits our customers through enhanced service reliability, water quality and fire protection.”

A recent water line extension project to Roanoke Elementary School extended public water service to the school, Stonewall Jackson Resort, and approximately 50 other customers, Lewis County Economic Development Authority Director Mike Herron said.

“The Northwest Lewis County project will extend service to approximately 150 customers, and the Alum Fork/Laurel Lick project will add another 53 customers. We anticipate these projects will close sometime in 2018,” Herron said.

The 2017 Infrastructure Upgrade Map, which can be found on West Virginia American Water’s website under Water Quality System Upgrades, features summaries of project counts, total dollars invested and length of upgraded water lines across the bottom of the screen.

Users can navigate the map by panning and zooming similar to other popular web-based maps and then click on individual projects once zoomed in for specific project details. Projects shown on this map are underway or already complete, so more projects will be added throughout the year as they begin.

According to the 2017 Report Card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, West Virginia has $1.16 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs and $3.26 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.

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