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Training center searches for additional water source

August 09, 2000

Training center searches for additional water source



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Demand for well water at the National Conservation Training Center has affected at least one well on a neighboring property and officials at the center are looking for other sources of water to meet the facility's needs.

When the training center draws water from a well on its property, the water level in a well on the neighboring property may drop up to 2 feet, said training center spokesman Steve Chase.

Although Chase said he does not believe any other wells in the area have been significantly affected, the center wants to tap into Shepherdstown's public water system to make sure the center has enough water.

Training center officials have been working with U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., to line up funding to extend city water to the training center, Chase said Tuesday. Byrd has included $1.5 million in a U.S. Senate appropriations bill for the work, Chase said.

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The project would involve extending a water main from the end of the city's system near the Cress Creek Golf and Country Club about three miles north to the center, Chase said.

The training center is located along Shepherd Grade Road.

The training center, which trains researchers for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other agencies, can use up to 60,000 gallons of water a day, Chase said.

Much of the water is needed to run the center's air-conditioning system, Chase said. The water is also needed for food service to about 200 employees daily and to 150 dormitory rooms, Chase said.

The center trains about 13,000 federal workers every year.

Center officials believe it is important to find a backup water source for the center now that the facility is planning to build a fourth dormitory that would house 75 people, Chase said. "We're just concerned for our neighbors," Chase said.

Byrd has included $4.2 million for the new dormitory in the U.S. Senate's version of the 2001 Department of Interior appropriations bill.

Ernest Fuss, who lives about a quarter mile from the training center, said his well went temporarily dry shortly before the center opened. But Fuss said center officials later told him they did not believe his well problems were tied to the center.

Fuss said he has not had any problems with his well since then, although other wells in the neighborhood have gone dry, he said.

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