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Morgan County Commission approves drilling of test wells

November 02, 2007|TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va.

The Morgan County Commission on Friday unanimously approved the Rural Water Committee's recommendation to use $18,000 to drill a couple of test wells in the Rock Gap area to see if there is a source for public water.

Water committee chairman Jack Soronen said about $18,000 was left over from a $300,000 water study grant that paid for work done by the West Virginia Soil Conservation Service using the U.S. Geologic Survey and the Hydraulic Center at West Virginia University.

Gannett Fleming, a consulting company, analyzed the results of the water study and recommended three priority areas for a public water system, Soronen said.

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Soronen said the study results showed the first priority for a public water system owned by the county is in the northern area of the southern section of U.S. 522, from the end of the Town of Bath's water service to the state line.

"The (U.S.) 522 corridor is more well-defined, and Gannett Fleming recommended finding water in that area," Soronen said.

The drilling site is on U.S. 522 South and Rock Gap Road, he said.

If water is found, the next step would be for the Warm Springs Public Service District to apply for a grant.

The other two priority areas that Gannett Fleming recommended are along W.Va. 9 East and in Great Cacapon, W.Va., Soronen said.

"I've been opposed to studies all my life, but this water study was money well-spent," Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said. "I never thought I would say that."

"We need to continue to search for water," Commission President Glen R. Stotler said. "We need to look at acquiring water rights in order to supply public water with further tests and look into it like oil and gas wells. We need to explore it the same way - buy the water rights from property owners."

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