August 31, 2011

Rockefeller, Manchin, Rahall Announce More Than $1.3 Million for Mercer County to Provide Safe Water Service in Region

Project Will Soon Enable more than 350 Households in the County to Access Clean Water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congressman Nick Rahall (all D-W.Va.) today announced $1,388,000 for the Mercer County Commission for a project to provide clean water service to residents throughout the county who currently face problems accessing a safe water supply.  The funding is from the Appalachian Regional Commission.  

“It’s absolutely essential that West Virginians receive safe, clean water and enough of it,” said Senator Rockefeller.  “This funding will allow for better water service for the residents in Mercer County, which will not only improve the health of those residents, but it will also encourage businesses to come to the area, creating needed jobs and revenues for the county.  Water is an essential resource for each and every one of us, and we must not take it for granted.”

“I have said time and again that it’s time we invest in America, and dedicate our precious resources – financial and otherwise – toward strengthening our infrastructure and rebuilding this country,” Senator Manchin said. “Safe and reliable water is absolutely critical to attracting residents and businesses, and the need for this service is acutely felt in some of the more rural parts of our state. I am pleased that Mercer County will be receiving this needed support.”

“These are exactly the kind of investments we should be making to attract new businesses and create jobs.  Those who would be shortsighted enough to choke off federal investments like these are strangling the long-term gains these investments provide our families, businesses, and communities,” said Rahall, top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with jurisdiction over the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers’ water projects.  “The Mercer-Summers project was one of the first to receive funding from the Corps program I helped to establish.  The $900,000 earmark I helped to secure leveraged some $45 million in public and private investment to provide 45,000 residents and businesses with water and fire protection.”

The Mercer County Commission will use the funding for the Mercer/Summers Phase IV-A Waterline Extension.  The project will provide clean water into southeastern Mercer County by traveling parallel to US 460 or Corridor Q of the Appalachian Development Highway System.  It will consist of one 95,000 gallon storage tank and approximately 24.5 miles of water line.

Southeastern Mercer County currently does not have access to domestically supplied clean water service.  The lack of water service is hurting economic development and the growth in the county.   Residents, schools, and businesses currently source water from individual wells, many of which have tested positive for E. coli and coliform.  The extension of water service will enable 352 households, seven businesses, and one elementary school in the area to receive a safe and adequate supply of water.  

The new water line extension will also promote economic development along Corridor Q as potential business owners and future residents are given access to domestic water service and fire protection.

In addition to the ARC funds, other federal sources will provide $700,000, state sources will provide $3,741,000, and local sources will provide $2,033,000, bringing the total project funding to $7,862,000.