Bluewell Public Service District receives $2.9M in federal funding to expand service

BLUEWELL, WV (WOAY) – More than 300 people in the Montcalm and Browning-Lambert areas in Mercer County will soon benefit from an expanded water distribution service.

In the Montcalm and Browning-Lambert areas of Mercer County, many residents depend on local well water. Unfortunately that means their water is more susceptible to environmental factors, including issues stemming from surface mining that once took place in the area.

According to the Mercer County Commission, the public service district located in Bluewell has just received more than $2 million in federal funding to expand water services into these areas. 

“It is in an area that had been mined heavily pre-SMRA (Surface Mine Reclamation Act) law. And as a result it is eligible for a lot of funding.”

The USDA is providing a total of $14 million to six different communities around West Virginia to fix water issues. Archer says the funding is a huge help, especially because Mercer County is no stranger to water problems.

“It’s vital for growth, and it’s vital for life here in the area. Last fall when we were having a drought, people were really hurting.”

This is also just one of many water projects on the to-do list in Mercer County. Archer says the Commission is keeping an eye on all local water issues.

“We’re dealing with water and sewer infrastructure projects all over the board. We’ve been trying desperately to get water up to people in the Camp Creek area.”

Thankfully this water issue is being fixed before it becomes more serious. Other communities throughout southern West Virginia have been dealing with water issues for a long time. The town of Gary in McDowell County is still suffering from a broken water system caused by mining runoff. The construction of this project in Mercer County has not begun yet, but it is expected to very soon.

When completed, the expanded water network will include more than 50,000 feet of new water lines.