Town of Coalton awarded $3.3 million for major water system improvements

COALTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice hosted a ceremony in the Town of Coalton today alongside local officials to announce that he has awarded a $3,325,000 Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grant to fund major improvements to the town’s water system.

The improvement project will address water quality issues that the Town of Coalton – also known as Womelsdorf – is experiencing due to their existing raw water source quality and water treatment plant capabilities.

“It’s a great day for Coalton,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s no question that this whole project is vital to this community, it’s vital to your elementary school, it’s vital to bringing jobs and hope right here to you. You’ve done it – all the nights at three o’clock in the morning, all the calls to everybody coming and going – today is the culmination of you; the culmination of goodness from community and love for your neighbors, for this great town that needs a shot in the arm, as did West Virginia.”

The project will involve adding a new well, replacing the existing potable water distribution system with six-inch and two-inch PVC waterline, refurbishing the existing 100,000-gallon water storage tank, and replacing the existing water treatment plant to provide a clean and safe source of treated water to the community.

The project will also provide clean water to Coalton Elementary School. Without the project, the town was facing the possibility of having the school shut down due to the potential lack of a reliable source of drinking water.

With the completion of the project, officials in Coalton expect to be able to attract new businesses to the area and promote additional economic growth.

“You have absolutely everything right at your fingertips,” Gov. Justice said. “You now have the repairs and the revamping of your water system that’s absolutely going to bring so much good it’s unbelievable. You can’t possibly expect to grow if you don’t have a water system, and you can’t possibly expect goodness at your elementary school if you don’t have a water system. You deserve this. You deserve a great water system. That’s all there is to it.”

Gov. Justice was joined by Coalton Mayor Jim Rossi for today’s ceremony.

“Thank you so much, Governor Justice,” Mayor Rossi said. “This is a real game changer for this community.

“We’re moving forward now and it’s going to assure the residents of this town a safe, clean, affordable, potable water system,” Rossi continued. “It’s going to help fire insurance, it’s going to help future generations, it’s going to help development. This is a win-win and we’re proud of it.”

The grant funding, provided by the federal government through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), is administered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands.

OSMRE must give final approval of the projects and amounts awarded.

The economic development projects must be located on or adjacent to mine sites that ceased operations prior to the signing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) on August 3, 1977.

“I congratulate you in every way,” Gov. Justice said. “I am so proud of you and absolutely proud to be able to come and just be a teeny, teeny, teeny part of your celebration.”

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