By Jessica Farrish, The Register-Herald
BECKLEY, W.Va. — Consolidation and rate increases are key to upgrading West Virginia’s aging water and sewer systems, where 30 percent of residents are unserved with drinking water and 40 percent are unserved with wastewater, experts on state infrastructure and funding told United States Senators Shelley Moore Capito, Joe Manchin and Tom Carper during a public hearing in Beckley on Thursday.
A declining population, aging work force, lack of technology and a lack of adequate infrastructure maps are among the challenges facing the state’s water and public service districts (PSDs).
The hearing, which was held at Raleigh County Circuit Court in Judge Darl Poling’s courtroom, is the first of two field hearings to be hosted by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., and Ranking Member Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., heard from witnesses about dated infrastructure and the challenges with updating systems.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also questioned the witnesses on needs for infrastructure.
The Senate in April overwhelmingly passed a $35 billion measure for improving drinking water and wastewater systems throughout the nation. The House of Representatives is now debating a $1.2 trillion bill addressing water systems as well as broadband, roads and bridges, and resiliency…