County approves Hodgesville PSD’s request for emergency ARP funding to replace faulty water tank valve

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission approved utilizing $4,693 of American Rescue Plan funds to replace the main control valve for the Shumaker Water Tank.

Terry Gould, manager of the Hodgesville Public Service District, approached the Upshur County Commission about the need to replace the valve during the July 1 commission meeting. Gould said that due to the faulty valve, the PSD is unable to shut off flow from the water tank should an emergency occur.

According to Gould, the Shumaker Water Tank, located at the top of Shumaker Hill on Shumaker Hill Road, contains 100,000 gallons and is one of the two main water tanks that serve Hodgesville PSD customers. Gould said the main control valve stopped functioning about five or six years ago, but it wasn’t an emergency situation until about a year ago when an alternate in-line valve also stopped functioning.

“I am grateful to see the control valve on the agenda and that is very important,” Gould said at the July 1 meeting. “If that eight-inch line ruptures, I have no way of shutting the tank.”

Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace said the county commission had previously decided to wait until August to disperse the funds, but the Hodgesville PSD’s need constituted an emergency situation.

“The first half of the funds have been deposited, and the final guidelines for the use of the funds have not been received; however, we did speak with the auditor’s office and the gentleman that’s overseeing the ARP funds has indicated that there’s nothing in the guidance that prohibits anyone from spending prior to receiving those final guidelines,” Wallace said. “The Commission’s agreement, originally, was that they would not spend any money until those final guidelines were received, but this is a different situation because it’s an emergency.”

The Upshur County Commission also decided to have a special meeting July 2 to discuss outstanding the Hodgesville PSD has with its contractor Ringer’s Inc. and Core and Main, the Hodgesville PSD supply firm.

“Ringer’s Inc. is our contractor, and they do a good job and right now, we owe them $80,000,” Gould said. “They have performed up to this point, and right now we are on an emergency only basis for repairs until that is paid.”

He said they have about 15 leaks right now and on average, one leak costs $1,800 to repair.

“The problem we have is, the system is getting old, we have numerous leaks, and we get asked how we have completed what we have done, and we did borrow from the city by not paying our water bill,” Gould said. “We either had to fix leaks or pay our water bill and we decided to fix the leaks. In December 2018, we owed city $136,052.52, as of June, the 30th that is now $6,007 we have paid them, and they will be totally paid off in August.”

Gould said they owed Core and Main $11,148.50 and sent a letter to the commission about other non-emergency projects to consider. Those additional projects included the installation of a standby generator for the Hall Road pump station that would cost $13,000; replacing all three existing non-operating fire hydrants which would cost $10,500; and replacing customer tap lines which would cost $757,820.

The non-emergency projects will be considered in August, after the commission reviews the ARP funds guidelines.

In other Upshur County Commission news:

  • The commission voted to rescind the COVID-19 Sick Leave and Travel Policies per the Policy Board vote on June 24, 2021.
  • The commission approved correspondence from Craig D. Presar, on behalf of the WVU Extension Service, requesting a waiver of fees associated with the use of the Upshur County Pool on July 29, 2021 for the Upshur County 4-H Summer Splash pool party held by the WVU Upshur County 4-H Leaders Association.

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