A new pump has been installed at the Page-Kincaid PSD.

In mid-August, the Page-Kincaid PSD took a big step toward solving problems with higher-than-desired iron concentration in its water system.

On Aug. 14, the PSD completed installation of a new specially-manufactured commercial filter for the water system. In a press release, Bart Jackson, the Page-Kincaid PSD plant manager, said the new filter became operational on Aug. 15 and will resolve an iron infusion problem with the system's deep wells allegedly caused by nearby mining and blasting practices which damaged the casings. The unexpected iron infusion, which originally began occurring in July 2018, caused an old filter to overwork and partially fail, said Jackson.

The iron infusion allegedly occurred due to mining and blasting operations in the area. In the process, Page-Kincaid customers (those at the end of lines were affected to a greater extent) saw their water become discolored due to the higher iron content.

The placement of the new filter, the first in nearly 40 years, is expected to alleviate that issue from the PSD's end, provided there is no further encroachment on the aquifers that provide the system's water supply. The PSD utilizes aquifers for its supply rather than relying on river water or other sources.

In the press release, Page-Kincaid PSD Commissioners James Kincaid, Robert Williams and John David expressed their thanks to Thrasher Engineering, USDA and the West Virginia Intergovernmental Joint Development Council "for cooperating to make the repair possible on an expedited basis."

The WVIJDC made available funding it had already committed to a planned overall water system upgrade early so the new filter could be purchased and installed. Manufacturing, transporting and installing the filter by Layne, a global water management company, cost $248,000, David said.

Kincaid, the PSD chairman, said Monday the system has "absolutely" seen improvements since the filter was installed. Tests this week revealed an iron reading of 0.1m/gl, Jackson told commissioners, and the bad filter has been taken off-line.

"The whole system is working really good right now," said Kincaid. "The new filter is working great." Another older filter is also still operational.

"It's going to take a little time for some of those lines to get cleared up," Kincaid added.

A new well drilled about a year ago up Johnson Branch resulted in a very good source of "crystal clear" water for the PSD and its customers, according to Kincaid. However, "last July over a couple weeks it turned brown," David said Saturday.

While understanding customers' obvious concerns in recent months, David said, "It (securing the filter) shows we have tried very hard to look at all possible alternatives to correct the problem. We worked very hard, very diligently and as quickly as possible."

The Fayette County Commission has civil litigation pending in Fayette County Circuit Court against Seminole West Virginia Mining Complex, which operates a mine in the vicinity of the Page-Kincaid PSD.

Also, insurance claims for damages, both to the PSD and families with damaged appliances, have been filed with Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, according to David.

On April 5, the Fayette County Commission penned a letter to Gov. Jim Justice requesting funding to assist in the matter. County Administrator Deborah Berry said Monday the commission didn't receive a response to the request.

A new filter update and a report on the progress of the water treatment plant rehabilitation project can be viewed on the PSD's website, Customers who still experience discolored water are urged to call the PSD office at 304-465-1045 so someone can be sent out to flush the lines.

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