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Second pipe project on the table in Berkeley Springs

November 07, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Another water line replacement project is needed and a preliminary engineering study will be done next year, Mayor Susan J. Webster said at Tuesday night's Bath Town Council meeting.

Webster said the cost should be about $2.4 million, and a new water rate structure will help pay the debt.

Pipes are leaking outside of town limits, she said, and repairs were made six times last week on Concord Street. Other areas on U.S. 522 South, Biser Street, Harrison Avenue and around Jimstown Road have leaking pipes, she said.

About 21,000 linear feet of water lines is to be replaced, which is about 5,000 more than the last project that ended in July, Webster said.

Councilman David Crosby said because of the continued leaks, the current moratorium on new water taps will remain in effect. He said about 400 new taps are on the waiting list.

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The Town Council put a moratorium on new water taps on Feb. 23, 2005, and the PSC approved it on Sept. 22, and made it retroactive to March 5, 2005.

Councilwoman Nancy Harvey said the leaking pipes that were installed in the 1990s are plastic and are being destroyed by chlorine.

Flat water rate

Geert Bakker, chief utilities manager of the Water and Waste Water Division's Assistance Section of the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC), told the Bath Town Council on Tuesday night that the town has the authority as a municipality to adopt a flat rate structure.

Webster said the town requested the rate study to determine the appropriate level of rates for the town-owned water system, Berkeley Springs Water Works.

Councilman David Crosby, who chairs the Finance committee, said "we need an equitable and fair rate structure that encourages conservation."

Those who use smaller amounts of water pay significantly more per gallon than those who use large amounts of water, he had said of the current rate structure.

Bakker said if 25 percent of the approximately 1,600 water department customers protest the flat rate to the PSC, it will be denied approval.

Crosby said if the flat rate is adopted, the more conservative users should not have to pay more than they are paying under the current rate structure.

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

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