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Water service sought for south Lewis Co.

by Nora Edinger

REGIONAL EDITOR

WESTON -- South Lewis County residents presented a petition to commissioners Monday requesting water and sewer service.

"That would bring not only water but it would bring fire protection, too," said Bill Cayton of Walkersville, who, along with Gerald Stalnaker of Roanoke, presented several hundred signatures.

Cayton said a number of area wells went dry during 1999's drought and other wells produce a poor quality of water.

The Stalnakers had to drill three wells before finding a source that did not have natural gas seeping into it, according to Judy Stalnaker, Gerald's wife.

"We also need infrastructure in order to develop business," Cayton said.

He believes the development of Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park into a full-scale resort will draw residential and commercial interests to the area. The resort will have a self-contained water and sewage treatment plant, he said, but the surrounding area has neither service.

"We intend to get it done," said Bob Conley, commission president, in response.

Conley said the county hopes to extend water and sewer to a number of areas in the next eight to 10 years, as funds become available.

A new West Virginia America Water Co. plant built in 1999 has the capacity for expanded Lewis County service, Conley said. A new Weston sewage treatment plant in the works should also allow for additional county customers in the future, he added.

The city of Weston recently approved the major sewage upgrade and an extension of sewer service -- with a 45 percent rate hike to fund it.

The $11 million project includes the new plant and the extension of sewer lines along Corridor H, U.S. Rt. 33, past Wal-Mart. It will also extend sewer service to the Deanville and Jordanville communities, where the plant will be located, according to Ken Moran, vice president of Thrasher Engineering, Inc. of Clarksburg.

Robin Poling, executive director of the Lewis County Economic Development Authority, has said that extension of services is necessary for development to continue at the intersection of Corridor H and I-79.

Developments already in place are using "package plants," small on-site sewage treatment centers. Poling said such plants send some sewage into the West Fork River. The sewage is now at its legal maximum, she said.

Regional editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1403.

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