Rains force shut down of city’s water treatment plant

New Cumberland City Park was flooded as a result of last weekend’s heavy and consistent rains. (Photo by Alexis Rufener)

CHESTER, W.Va. — City officials continue to assess city streets following periods of heavy rain Sunday and Monday that quickly resulted in partial flooding.

According to Chester VFD fire chief John Hissam, there are three primary areas in the city prone to flooding — the Ferry Road entrance, the 3rd Street garden area, and Chester City Park. Apartments located along Ferry Road were not affected by the flooding, he said, however the streets were impassable.

Tuesday marked the second day the city water treatment plant has been shut down, the chief said, adding water levels have gone down three to four feet already.

“We check these areas to make sure there was nothing there that was in danger,” Hissam said. “… and once they told us the height of the water, there was going to be no actual damage done to the equipment, but we might not have access to it. That’s what occurred.”

A date was not provided on when the treatment plant will resume normal operation.

“The city treatment plant couldn’t be operated properly. As we see the water going down we should be able to get it back into operation pretty soon,” Hissam said.

On the city of Chester’s Facebook page, officials posted a request to water customers in Chester and Lawrenceville, asking them to “conserve water until flood waters recede and and we are able to start pumping fresh water and refilling our storage tanks.”

City resident and business owner Sharyn Vinci approached council Monday, expressing concern for the condition of city streets including the front of her salon even without the recent flooding.

“On Neptune Avenue, I’m having an issue, with water filling the very front of my salon,” she said. “It’s not anywhere else on the street. Everywhere else on the street actually runs into the very front of my salon. After 37 years in the business, nearly 30 years as a salon owner in that exact location, I had someone fall the other day.”

Vinci explained a client had to walk a good distance in order to avoid the puddle of water. She asked council if someone could be sent to assess the puddle situation, expressing her need to have the water deter away from the salon entryway.

“I plan to work at least for another 10 years and I’d hate to see someone fall on the street,” Vinci said.

Councilman Steve Shuman said a possible cause to Vinci’s problem is the roots from the trees pushing up the bricks causing the water to collect there.

Hurricane Florence is projected to bring more rain later this week.