FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – The residents of Page-Kincaid were once again protesting for clean water on Tuesday outside of the Page-Kincaid Public Service District, but things took a different turn when they realized members of the board were having a meeting, and they decided to take their grievances straight to the source.
Once the residents came inside, it was made clear by PSD board member Robert Williams that the much-anticipated West Virginia American Water takeover will be happening.
“Just be patient. West Virginia water is coming,” he said.
An order came down in August from the Public Service Commission in Charleston saying a deal must be made between the two entities within 30 days as they’ve been battling it out in court for the past year over control of the water system.
But now, according to the PSD members, there will be a takeover, causing a celebration for those who have been fighting hard for it, people like Karen Jeffers who have been speaking out about their poor water quality for about two years.
“Now we’re just waiting to know when it’s going to take effect and how long we have to wait,” she said. “One person in there tells me we’ll have to wait a year. I hope that’s not true, but we got American Water.”
Residents came out on Tuesday for what they expected to be another roadside protest, what we have seen from them over the past few weeks. However, they began recognizing each board member as they drove in for their meeting at the water treatment plant and decided that was a meeting they wanted to be a part of.
Board members James Kincaid Jr., John David and Robert Williams were all there and listened to the residents as they voiced their concerns over the time it has taken and their repeated demands for clean water.
James Kincaid Jr. says there were plans in place to fix the system last year to solve the discolored water issue caused by iron and rust in the system, and it was blocked by American Water’s intervention, but now he says it seems that the takeover is inevitable.
Board member John David says he fears rates will be higher with American Water.
“This is a distressed, depressed area,’ he said. “We all want to keep rates low and want to have good quality water, but there’s some surprises that will be coming.”
Residents were quick to point out that they have already spent so much money buying water and paying high bills for water they cannot use.
However, the big takeaway from the meeting is that American Water is coming and details just have to be worked out in the coming days.
The people in attendance felt encouraged by letting their voices be heard and they were also encouraged by the attendance of county and state officials at the protest, like Delegate Dr. Margaret Staggers (D-32).
“These people and every person in the United States deserves clean water. All of the time. Every day,” she said. “We’re U.S. citizens, and it’s our right.”
The deadline for the two entities to make an official deal is September 7 before the Public Service Commission will force a takeover.