2/19/2013 5:38 PM
by Karen Franklin
RAINELLE - After years of a plaguing water-quality problem in Rainelle, town officials announced their plan to renovate the system Monday night.
A $2.6 million loan was awarded to the town to fix the drinking water, Mayor Andrea J. Pendleton told WOAY.
"The water here is nasty, brown water," resident Paula Stinnett said. "I mean nasty, brown water. If you don't have a water filter, you're taking chances."
Engineers at Stafford Consultants drafted the project budget. The work is expected to begin in July or early fall.
"They've had a water problem for years, and I'm glad they're starting to do something about it that'd be good for the town," said Carl B. Taylor Jr., whose family lives in Rainelle.
Employees at the water plant blame the problem on their old facility and pipes in the ground that date as far back as 1925.
Transforming the brown water into the clear color residents want will include, aeration, sedimentation, a new filtration system and new pipes, experts said.
"The water consists of iron and manganese, and our filters right now, they're so old that they're not filtering the water right," said Rainelle Water employee Ray Everson, who has lived in the town for 25 years. "We can't push the water through the filter because you start getting bad water."
The $2.6 million loan could mean higher water bills, but that will be determined by the Public Service Commission.
"We're hoping that we can work it out where it won't be," Pendleton told WOAY. "We know they do want clean water, and I think they'll pay a little bit more but we don't want them to have to. There's other bills they have to pay."
Stinnett agreed. She told Newswatch she's already been paying for a low-quality product.
"We pay for nasty water now, and if it raises even a couple of dollars, then it'd be worth it," she said.
But the project is coming with a warning.
"It's going to get worse before it gets better," Everson said.
The water, however, has always been safe.
"It's treated like it's supposed to be," Pendleton advised. "We get all the regulations done, water sent off, and it's safe water. It just doesn't look very good. Doesn't help the washing of clothes."
The project is expected to take one year, according to water employees.
Anyone with issues is asked to report his or her problems to Town Hall at 304-438-7191.