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Pine Grove Is Implementing Local Water Rationing Plan

By Staff | Jul 28, 2017

The Town of Pine Grove has reported that it is implementing the “Local Rationing Plan” to conserve water, “due to the problems the Town is experiencing, to all the Towns water customers, to be in compliance with the PSC water rule 4.14.”

Mayor Barbara King told the Wetzel Chronicle that the town is asking its citizens to conserve water, as the town is buying water from Public Service District One.

“I don’t want a ridiculous amount of water being used,” King said.

King reported that the town had a pump “burn up” in the water plant on Tuesday. She said the town would not receive the necessary device, to fix the problem, until possibly Monday.

King reported that the town is still under a boil order.

According to the PSC Water Rule 4.14, upon giving notice to the Public Utilities Commission, and the general public, any water utility “declaring a temporary shortage of water, and that it is necessary for the health and welfare of the utility’s customers to restrict the consumption and use of the existing water supply, shall be authorized to enforce the following Local Water Rationing Plan (“Plan”) to restrict use of water to human consumption and for sanitary purposes.” According to the rule, if a town wishes to differ from the plan that is listed in the rule, they may petition the Commission.

The PSC’s plan notes the following water uses are non-essential and are prohibited within an emergency service area:

* Watering of outside shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants or any other vegetation, except from a watering can or other container not exceeding three gallon capacity. The limitation shall not apply to vegetable gardens, greenhouse or nursery stocks and newly established lawns or sod less than five (5) weeks old, which may be watered in the minimum amount required to preserve plant life before 8 a.m. or until after 6 p.m.

* The watering of golf course fairways.

* The washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers or any other type of mobile equipment except in vehicle wash facilities operating with a water recycling system with a prominently displayed sign in public viewing so stating, or from a bucket or other container not exceeding three gallons.

* The washing of streets, driveways, parking lots, service station aprons, office buildings, exteriors of homes or apartments or other outdoor surfaces.

* The serving of water in restaurants, clubs or eating places unless specifically requested by the individual.

* Ornamental water use, including but not limited to fountains, artificial waterfalls and reflecting pools.

* The use of water for flushing sewers or hydrants by municipalities or any public or private individual or entity except as deemed necessary in the interest of public health or safety by the utility.

* The use of fire hydrants by fire companies for testing fire apparatus and for fire department drills except as deemed necessary in the interest of public safety and specifically approved by the municipal governing body.

* The use of fire hydrants by municipal road departments, contractors and all others, except as necessary for fire fighting or protection purposes.

* The filling of swimming or watering pools requiring more than five gallons of water, or the refilling of swimming or wading pools which were drained after the effective date of the order, except that pools may be filled to a level of two feet below normal, or as necessary to protect the structure from hydrostatic damage, as to pools constructed or contracted for on or after the date of the final order.

PSC Water Rule 4.14 notes that anyone “aggrieved” by a utility’s decision related to the rules may file a complaint with the Commission.

Those who violate the rules of the Plan are subject to a warning (for first offense) and interruption or shut-off of service or extra surcharge to monthly bill (for second and subsequent offenses).

The Plan can be in effect until terminated by the utility, or by order of the Commission.

The state’s PSC Rules, in their entirety, can be accessed at: apps.sos.wv.gov/adlaw/csr/ruleview.aspx?document=6964

The problems with Pine Grove’s water system come almost immediately after the town struggled with a dysfunctional sewage system. In mid-June, a pump on the town’s sewage system became inoperable. For several days residents were asked not to flush their toilets, take short showers, or wash their dishes.

King said several issues have been discovered while attempting to fix the problem. She noted that debris had been found in the waste pits at the “vac plant.” King said the waste included “things that are certainly not supposed to be used in toilets, or water lines.”

During this time of trial, Dominion donated a brand new sewage system pump to the town. The town had also thanked MarkWest, Erb Electric, Energy Transport, RDR Energy, and Gumps Septic, along with town workers, for donations and extra time put toward the town’s sewage system.

In regards to the town’s sewage system, King said the system is “up and running.” King said town employees have been working diligently on the current issues with the water and have not had the time to go to everyone’s home to make necessary adjustments to sewer pits, which could possibly explain why residents may still be experiencing raw sewage in their basements. King said she personally has not seen any sewage in basements.