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Water supplies concern Berkeley Co. officials

November 15, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Availability of groundwater in Berkeley County will become one of the most important issues in the county in coming years, a county water official told the Berkeley County Commission on Thursday.

Periodic problems with water wells going dry in the county have occurred recently, although the problem is not as serious as it was during the sustained drought of 2001, said Bill Stubblefield, chairman of the board of directors for the Berkeley County Water District.

In addition to individual residential water wells in the county, public water systems also draw water from wells, Stubblefield said.

Stubblefield said county officials are considering dividing the county into different areas based on groundwater availability.

Home building might be restricted based on how much water is available in the areas, Stubblefield said.

For example, one area might be able to support five houses per acre, but another area might only be able to support one house per acre, Stubblefield said.

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"The last thing we want is a complex of houses to run out of water at the same time," said Stubblefield, who is chairman of the water advisory committee for the county's comprehensive plan.

Commission member Howard Strauss said he agrees with Stubblefield's concerns, but said he also is concerned about making sure adequate sewer service is available in the county.

Stubblefield said the issue to keep in mind about expanded sewer service is that it can actually affect groundwater supplies.

Where residential septic tanks allow water to eventually return to groundwater systems, sewage lines transport water out of residential areas, thus not allowing it to return underground, Stubblefield said.

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