Moratorium on water taps not yet in effect

June 03, 2005|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The moratorium on new water taps unanimously approved Feb. 23 by the Bath Town Council has not gone into effect because it has not been approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

Kevin Hancock, Berkeley Springs Water Works superintendent, said Thursday that the moratorium request "must be taken care of by an attorney." Richard Gay, the town's attorney, is working with the PSC, and Mayor Susan Webster said Gay is working as fast as he can to get the approval.

The town owns Berkeley Springs Water Works.

Hancock said by PSC regulations, Berkeley Springs Water Works cannot turn down single water tap requests until the moratorium is official.


He said 10 customers have been hooked up since the moratorium was voted on by the town council.

However, Hancock said that the PSC will not allow a developer onto the water system because the Berkeley Springs Water Works is pumping at more than 98 percent capacity. A Morgan County Health Department permit is required, and it cannot release a permit if the water department is pumping at 80 percent capacity, he said.

Webster said she did not find out that it had to go through an attorney to get approval until 10 days ago. She said she had hoped the PSC would approve the moratorium when it learned the water department was pumping at 98 percent capacity. Because of the old, leaking water pipes in the town, 57 percent of the water was wasted in the last billing quarter, Hancock said previously.

Hancock said the water plant pumped 60 million gallons, but billed for 25 million gallons in the last billing quarter. About 1,475 residences and businesses in Morgan County receive water from Berkeley Springs Water Works.

Webster said as soon as there is an "immediate, positive change" after some of the pipes are replaced and the pumping capacity falls below 80 percent, the water department will try to lift the moratorium.

The town plans to start replacing most of the aging water pipes as soon as possible.

The Town of Bath is the local government inside Berkeley Springs.

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