Water board hears updates on projects

WEIRTON — Progress was the talk at Thursday’s meeting of the Weirton Area Water Board, as officials were updated on two ongoing water improvement projects in the city.

Steve Hamit of the Thrasher Group reported on the efforts to install an 18-inch slip line along Freedom Way, as part of efforts to prevent major water outages.

Hamit noted James White Construction has completed 10 of 11 service connections and three of four interconnections for the project, including the installation of approximately four miles of new pipeline, as well as plastic inserts into portions of the system.

“The lining of the 18-inch line has begun,” Hamit said of work ongoing on Freedom Way.

The $6.9 million project, which will not result in a water fee increase, according to officials, is designed to prevent system-wide outages, such as the one in 2011 when a line break occurred near the water treatment plant.

Utilities Director Butch Mastrantoni reported on the project to install a new water line along a portion of Marland Heights Road.

“We’re making progress there,” Mastrantoni said.

Work is approaching Wood Street, which Mastrantoni said is the terminus of the project.

City Manager Travis Blosser said the only issue has been the need to issue a few traffic citations, with most of them coming from out-of-town drivers, he noted. A second phase of that project is in the works, with plans to install new water lines — creating a loop system — for Wood and Grant streets.

“Currently, those sections are served by dead-end water lines,” Mastrantoni said, noting a looped system will provide better water flow and pressure.

The cost for the project is approximately $52,000, which will be funded through a portion of the city’s 2017-2018 Community Development Block Grant funding.

Blosser expressed his appreciation to Weirton Council for agreeing to fund the project.

In other business, the board:

¯ Approved its yearly workers’ compensation premiums at a cost of $21,542.

¯ Approved its annual assessment fee to the West Virginia Public Service Commission at a cost of $13,189.01.

¯ Agreed to a program with Utility Service Partners to provide Weirton residents with a voluntary program to offer coverage of external water and sewer lines, as well as in-home plumbing, located on residential properties. The agreement is contingent upon approval from the Weirton Sanitary Board and City Council.

¯ Agreed to its 2017-18 officers, re-appointing Jim Shockley as board chair; Don Gianni Jr., vice chair; and Sonny Marino, treasurer.