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Chester awarded grant for water system

CHESTER, W.Va. –The city is receiving a $2.55 million dollar grant for the water system. The announcement was made at last weeks water board meeting by board member Bill Kell. It is an Environmental Infrastructure grant administered by the Army Corps of Engineers in accordance with the Water Resources Development Act of 1992.

Dallis Dawson and Associates found and coordinated the grant on the city’s behalf. Kell and Chuck Bailey, water board member, also worked with the firm on the grant. Dallis Dawson, owner of the engineering firm, was notified the grant was awarded last week. Dawson reported discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers for the project started in 2018, and the official letter of intent requesting funding was submitted in July of 2019.

The grant is for updating the water system. The current plan is to upgrade and or replace Chester’s existing raw water intake system located in the Ohio River. They also hope to use the grant for additional improvements to the city’s water treatment plant and distribution system.

It is an 80/20 matching grant with the city paying 20 percent. Bailey pointed out there are few stipulations on where the matching portion comes from. The board hopes to obtain additional grants for the project. They are currently looking for ways to fund the matching portion. Once the 20 percent match is determined, they can move forward with the project.

In other business, the board:

— Discussed replacing and fixing fire hydrants. They determined the hydrant at Third Street is the top priority, and the board discussed having employees complete as much of the project as possible to cut costs. The board recognized having employees complete the project extends the timeline and keeps the department from working on other projects. Residents and businesses will be notified before the project takes place.

— Matt Fennell, vice president of operations at Whole Plants Health, a medical marijuana company looking to open a facility in Chester, spoke to the board about water needs. Fennell explained before the company can submit an application with the state, they need to talk to the municipality’s water board to ensure the facility’s water needs can be met by the water treatment plant. The board agreed to sign the letter Fennell brought, signifying the board will supply the facility with water after the state approves the application. Whole Plants Health was unable to reach an agreement for the purchase or lease of their prospective location, and have decided to not open a location in Chester.

— A resident questioned a $1,200 bill caused by a broken hot water heater that flooded her basement. She reported her landlord would pay the water used portion of the bill, but did not understand the $692 sewer portion of the bill. Mayor Ken Morris said the Public Sewer District requires all water that goes down the drain is treated, resulting in the bill. She was told the water department would work with her while she paid the balance off.

— Agreed to table the demolition of the First Street pump house after opening two bids to remove the pump house. One bid included pulling the pump while the other did not, and the board decided they wanted additional information before taking any action.

— Approved vacation time for a water department employee.

— Approved a commercial water and sewer tap application, the application must be filled out to the water department’s specification before a new business will receive service.

The next meeting will be 5 p.m. on March 18.

jriedel@reviewonline.com

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