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Berkeley Springs Water Works looking at projects, rate hike

December 05, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Berkeley Springs Water Works, the town-owned water department, will be purchasing a new pump for the department, and some additional work is needed on the check valves, Town of Bath Mayor Susan J. Webster said at Tuesday night's council meeting.

The estimated cost for the pump is $25,000, and the seals on the check valves are to be redesigned at an estimated cost of $30,000, she said.

In addition, the estimated cost to replace the leaking water pipes outside the town limits is about $3 million, Councilwoman Nancy Harvey said.

About 21,000 feet of pipe will be replaced, Webster said.

Councilman David Crosby, who chairs the Finance committee and is a Water committee member, said improvements are needed at the water department plant.

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The water department can pump 800,000 gallons of water a day if the pumps are running at full capacity. The water department is permitted to pump a little more than 1 million gallons a day, he said, but the plant cannot handle it.

More than 400 customers are waiting for the moratorium on new water taps to be lifted, so they can be supplied with Berkeley Springs water, Crosby said.

"That's a 25 percent increase," he said to the 1,600 water department customers.

Webster said a new hookup impact fee of $2,500, which includes the tap fee and the meter, will be charged to new customers, and a portion of that fee will go toward the water plant improvements.

Crosby also warned the council that it has to look "very seriously" at a water rate increase. He said he is looking at the flat water rate of $9 per 1,000 gallons and keeping the minimum at 6,000 gallons.

He said for those users who conserve water and use less than 6,000 gallons per quarter, there would be about a 3 to 4 percent decrease.

The majority of customers would pay about a 3 to 4 percent increase.

Those who use a high volume of water will pay a substantial increase, he said.

Using the West Virginia Public Service Commission's 2006 audit, Crosby said, the total revenue would be about a 17 percent increase.

The increase in the rate will pay for the projects, he said.

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