BELLEVILLE, W.Va. (WTAP) – Update: 6/15/2017 5:30 P.M.
A complaint filed with the West Virginia Public Service Commission has halted work on a long-awaited extension of water service to the Belleville area of Wood County.
According to Jerry Martin, Chairman of the Lubeck Public Service District Board of Commissioners, the complaint was filed by the owner of a vacant home, claiming he was denied service as part of the project.
Martin says a public hearing was held in late May, and an administrative law judge has 120 days-roughly four months-to make a final decision on the complaint.
While he says nearly all of the pipe has been laid for the 19-mile extension of service from Lubeck to Bellevile, the project has been halted while the ruling is pending.
That, says Martin, is so the construction firm can concentrate on other projects it is contracted for.
It does not mean the firm has pulled out of the project.
"(Resumption of the project) depends on the money available after the decision, and that will be determined by what the law judge decides," Martin says. "If we have to do some of the projects (named in the complaint), then we won't have the money to do some of the projects we want to do."
As for the reason for the complaint, Martin says the home in question is located across a set of railroad tracks, making it difficult-and more expensive-to extend service to that property.
Update: 6/1/2017 6:30 P.M.
It's been in the works for years, but finally, Belleville residents are getting service from a water line extension.
But some residents say they're being left out.
Two of them, Randy Townsend and Douglas Buck, took their case Thursday to the Wood County Commission.
They, and others, have relied on well water for years-as did most Belleville residents, until recently.
Townsend and Buck said their well water has declined in quality, because of blasting that took place during construction of the Belleville Locks and Dam and the hydroelectric project from the 1990's.
The commission plans to seek answers from the Lubeck Public Service District.
"They want to understand why, when they did the Belleville extension project, why they weren't available to get water," Commission President Blair Couch said after Thursday's meeting. "I think we'll follow through with a letter to the Lubeck PSD, and hopefully get their responses as to what those gentlemen have to say."
Meanwhile, the commission opened bids for new cruisers for the Wood County Sheriff's Department, and for a new county telephone system.
But it was decided not to open the only bid submitted for roof repairs to a county-owned building at Second and Avery Streets.
That building currently houses court records, but previously housed the sheriff's department and, years earlier, the Magistrate Court. It was shut down recently after the presence of mold was discovered.
Couch says the project will be re-bid, in hopes of getting more interest from other companies.
Update: 5/8/2017 5:20 P.M.
For some lucky residents of the Belleville area in Wood County, water is finally flowing from home faucets.
Construciton of a long-awaited water line extension from the Lubeck Public Service District is about 70% complete.
The construction work has been going on all winter, and while it continues, customers are already starting to come on line.
"From the sections that have already been laid; that's been flushed, tested and approved, we're releasing those sections for the people to start hooking up and letting them go," PSD General Manager Rocky McConnell said Monday. "For the last couple of weeks we've been taking some."
Up until now, Belleville's residents had to rely on wells for their water supply.
McConnell says the project is on schedule, and is expected to be completed late this summer.
Update: 1/5/2016 8:20 P.M.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Thursday for a project to extend water service from Lubeck to Belleville.
A member of the Lubeck Public Service District commission says a project to provide water service to the Belleville community, 19 miles away, is now 10% complete.
Update: 12/13/2016 5:25 P.M.
Officially under way: construction on a long-awaited extension of water service, from the Lubeck Public Service District to Belleville.
Construction workers this week kicked off the project, which should be completed in August.
After years of acquiring rights of way and agreements with residents, as well as seeking funding, Belleville residents will finally get water from a line more than 20 miles long, connected to the Lubeck Public Service District.
Until the project is completed, motorists and workers need to keep an eye out for each other.
"They need to pay attention to the 'men working' signs, and to take a slow approach to that working area," says Rocky McConnell, Public Service District Manager. (The work will continue on through the winter), as long as weather is permitting, the stipulatons and guidelines they have to follow, required by the (West Virginia) department of highways."
McConnell says construction workers will have to keep an eye open for buses delivering students to school.
Although construction is already under way, the P.S.D. plans to hold a groundbreaking ceremony January fifth.
11/29/2016 5:00 P.M.
Update: Groundbreaking for Belleville water line extension project now set for December 8.
The general manager of the Lubeck Public Service District, which is doing the project, says the event was moved to December so that elected officials could take part.
10/2016 5:40 P.M.
The Lubeck Public Service District says work is to begin in November on a water line extension to the Belleville area.
That estimated nine-month project is to continue on throughout the winter, as long as the weather allows it.
Since bids were opened and accepted a few months ago, Lubeck has been getting required permission from area homeowners to provide water taps to their properties.
To no one's surprise, most have agreed.
"It stipulates they'll use a certain amount of water for so long to pay back for the project," says General Manager Rocky McConnell. "It's low-rate loans we borrowed to do the project with, from the bureau of public health."
Bids were opened for the project last summer, with an Ohio company submitting the lowest bid.
Low enough, in fact, that it made some extra money available to provide service for even more Belleville customers.
Belleville residents have long wanted public water service to their part of the county, with most of it up until now coming from wells.
The citizens of Belleville have never had water lines in their area, but Thursday they held a meeting and opened up the floor to bids.
Companies estimated the cost of installing the lines, and the Public Service District board members opened each of the bids ranking them highest to lowest.
This coming Thursday they will award the bid to a business that will then begin work in October.
Each resident of Belleville who wants access to the water lines will need to pay for their own connections before instillation begins, or they may regret it.
General manager of the Public Service District Rock Mcconnell said, “If they pay for their tap up front it a hundred dollar tap fee. If they wait until after construction has started it will cost them 500 dollars for the tap fee, and of course there’s a security deposit, and it will be refunded after 12 consecutive payments.”
There will be over 19 miles of line installed throughout the Lubeck area ranging from Jackson County, to Mineral Wells, and Parkersburg.
If things go according to plan and construction begins this October the residents of Belleville may have access to water lines as early as next October.