Despite Pipe Repair, Water Problems Persist in Keystone

KEYSTONE, W.Va. (WOAY) – The residents of Keystone have been without water for weeks. Today, the city was able to repair the broken pipe, but not without issues. Newswatch reporter Anna Saunders was there.

When the pipe was fixed, residents of Keystone rejoiced. 

“And so I went out for lunch and when I came back, they said, ‘You have water,’ and I said, ‘Oh!’ I didn’t even notice,” Keystone City Manager Anita Winfree said.  “I’m kinda getting used to it if there’s such a thing. I’m kinda getting used to it. But it just felt great. Even if I just have a little trickle because I live on a hill. Even if I just have a little trickle, it’s just like this little light at the end of the tunnel, so I know by tomorrow I should have full force water.”

Before the fix, the people of Keystone had been without water for three weeks. 

“You don’t know how uplifting it is because people come down the street and say, ‘Man, we sure would like to have some water.’ Well, we’re working on it people, we’re trying.” Harold Mitchell with the McDowell County Commission said. “We’ll get it. We got it. So hopefully cross them fingers. Hopefully, it will work out great.”

Despite crossing fingers, it wasn’t long after the pipe was fixed, filled in, and route 52 was back open that a new leak started just a few feet down the street. 

City officials say the pipe running underneath Keystone is around 100 years old so future leaks could, unfortunately, be inevitable. 

“And there are gonna be problems. But I want them to understand you know, they may think that they’re not doing all that we can but we’re doing the very best that we can with what we have being that we don’t have anything to work with and we’re doing the best that we can,” Winfree said. “When we get these problems to handle them as quickly as we can. If we could fix it the next day we would, but we can’t. We just want them to know that we’re doing the best we can.”

The Raleigh County 911 Center and local ministries have donated water that residents can pick up in city hall. Local businesses have had to pitch in their own money to pay for water tanks in order to operate. For now, the water is back on for most in the small community, and Keystone will continue to make the most of what they have. 

“The people here. They’re real good people. And we wanna help, you know? Because this is our county and we care about it, so that’s what we’re doing up here,” Mitchell sai

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.