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Water board continues on path to prevent major outage

February 10, 2012
By ANGELIN DICKSON - Special to the Herald-Star ((Dickson can be contacted at , The Herald-Star

WEIRTON - Water board officials are seeking support from City Council to move forward with an emergency project that will secure the main line at the water treatment plant and prevent another major outage like the one seen last year.

Utilities Director Butch Mastrantoni appeared before the finance committee on Thursday to discuss a resolution that will permit the board to move forward in seeking a $100,000 loan from a local bank for the project. He said the board has $100,000 already in a special projects fund but will need the additional cash flow to pay the $192,000 to Welding Inc. of Charleston.

Mastrantoni said the board has engaged Thrasher Engineering for designs to put in an 18-inch line that will run parallel to the existing main water line that feeds potable water to the entire city. He said once the line is installed, through a series of valve installations, water will be able to be moved through either transmission.

Article Photos

Angelina Dickson
PREVENTING PROBLEMS — The Weirton Finance Committee met Thursday to discuss a resolution with water board staff for an emergency construction project that officials are hoping will prevent the city from having another major water outage similar to the one in June. The project will call for a duplicate line in the first phase and either a repair or replacement of the old line. On hand were, from left, Finance Director Thomas Maher Jr., Ward 5 Councilman George Gaughenbaugh and committee chairman Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh.

Information was presented to the finance committee regarding the different lending institutions and the percentage rates offered. He said the board decided to go with United Bank due to the low interest rate of 2.36 interest offered over the life of the loan, which will consist of 60 monthly payments in the amount of $1,768.53.

Mastrantoni said the reason the board was eligible for such a low interest rate is due to the board being tax exempt, which was confirmed by the board's legal counsel Dan Guida.

"Are you going to come back for a rate increase?" asked Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh.

Mastrantoni answered him saying the first phase should be able to be taken care of internally with no problem. However, the second phase of repairing or replacing the existing line to the system could tell a different story.

Mastrantoni said the construction is likely to come in two or more phases, but because the condition of the older line is not fully known, he said there is no way of telling how many phases the project will have to go through or how much it will cost. He added if the construction is phased properly, it shouldn't affect the rate increase passed by City Council in the fall.

According to Mastrantoni, the board will receive a $50,000 grant to be used for engineering costs associated with replacing the existing line which has been in use since the 1960s.

While the grant would not serve as reimbursement for the expenditures associated with the project thus far, it would be able to be used in a later phase of the project. The first phase, which will be awarded to Welding Inc., is expected to establish a parallel line near the ground's surface for a portion of the water line, and the larger project will come in a later phase to address the entire line going to the city.

Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building.

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