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Way cleared for Blairton water

April 20, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes has dismissed a civil suit against the Riverton Corp., clearing the way for a new water system for residents of the village of Blairton east of Martinsburg.

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Ever since Riverton, a private quarry company, decided to stop providing water to Blairton, residents have been seeking a new source. They filed a civil suit against Riverton in 1997 to protect their water service and property rights.

Almost two months ago, the Berkeley County Public Service District agreed to take over the responsibility of providing water.

Progress was halted by a legal wrangle over the suit. Riverton wanted it dismissed with prejudice, meaning it couldn't be filed again.

Wilkes on Monday granted Blairton residents' request to have the suit dismissed without prejudice, preserving their right to reinstate it in the future.

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"We're hopeful that's the end of the issue," said Laura Rose, the Blairton residents' attorney.

An agreement calls for Riverton, the Berkeley County Public Service District and either the state of West Virginia or the Berkeley County Commission to each contribute up to $150,000 toward the project's cost.

Riverton will construct a new water distribution system, then sell it to the Public Service District.

During a kickoff celebration for the refurbishment of the B&O Roundhouse in Martinsburg on Thursday, Gov. Cecil Underwood announced that the state would contribute $150,000 to the Berkeley County Commission for the water project.

Blairton resident JoAnn Greenfield, her 6-year-old son Jacob and her 10-year-old daughter Sara stepped to the podium with Rose to accept an oversized check from Underwood.

Rose said Riverton has hired a contractor and work probably will start in the next month or two.

There are about 42 homes in the Blairton community, according to state Del. Larry Faircloth, R-Berkeley, who said he and Del. Vicki Douglas, D-Berkeley, helped push for state funding.

Faircloth said more than 2,500 feet of pipe will be installed, running south of the railroad tracks through Blairton to W.Va. 45.

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