October 27, 2017

Manchin and Capito Continue Pushing for Plan to Reopen Martinsburg Water Plant

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today continued working to produce an agreement between the city of Martinsburg and the U.S. Air Force that will make it possible for the city to reopen the Big Springs Water Plant.

“I am extremely disappointed. It’s been over ten months since an Air Force representative told the City that they would resolve the issue and it is unacceptable that there is still no solution. The City of Martinsburg simply can’t afford to wait while Washington bureaucrats hide behind red tape. I know how vital this project is to Martinsburg and the surrounding communities. I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure the people of Martinsburg aren’t left holding the bag,” Senator Manchin said

“It’s absolutely critical that an agreement is reached on how to reopen the Martinsburg water supply, and it needs to happen soon. Not only is it essential to ensure those living in the Martinsburg area will continue to have access to the clean drinking water they need, but it is also necessary for local businesses and manufacturers to continue operations and contribute to the local economy,” Senator Capito said. “Understanding how important this water supply is to Martinsburg families and businesses and how urgent the situation is, I have spoken directly with Secretary Wilson and others to push for an agreement that will ensure its timely reopening, and I will continue working to make sure this issue is resolved. It’s time for a plan to be in place.”

BACKGROUND: After concerns were raised that the Big Springs Water Plant in Martinsburg was contaminated by a chemical used by the U.S. Air Force and the West Virginia Air National Guard to fight fires, the city chose to shut down that water supply to prevent the consumption of contaminated drinking water. The city has since been working to fix the issue while still providing access to clean water for residents and businesses. However, the operating needs of the area’s new Procter & Gamble plant require the project be completed sooner than originally thought feasible and questions remain regarding financial responsibility for the project.

In recent months, Senators Capito and Manchin have worked with the city of Martinsburg and the U.S. Air Force to coordinate an agreement that will enable the city to reopen the Big Springs Water Plant in time for the Procter & Gamble facility’s anticipated opening next year. During a call today with Air Force Acting Assistant Secretary for Installations, Environment and Energy Richard Hartley, the senators learned that an agreement has not yet been reached.

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