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The West Virginia Public Service Commission has opened a general investigation into the quality of water service provided by the Page-Kincaid Public Service District in Fayette County.
As of May 18th, the entire service district is under a boil water advisory for an unspecified amount of time. It serves more than 600 Fayette County customers.
In an evening statement on Wednesday, May 20th, chairwoman Charlotte Lane said the commission has received a petition with about 400 signatures, complaining about poor service and high rates.
“Many of those residents specifically requested the water system be taken over by a responsible utility,” Lane said. “The commission had been promised that these problems were being resolved.”
In June 2019, Page-Kincaid applied through the public service commission to rehabilitate the Fayette County treatment plant, which would have amounted to a potential 10 percent increase in customers’ rates. The intent of the $3 million project was to install three new water filters and upgrade dilapidated infrastructure, partly in response to a deterioration in water quality in 2018, including high levels of iron, manganese and aluminum.
Upon negotiations with West Virginia American Water [WVAW] in the fall of 2019, the commission granted Page-Kincaid’s withdrawal of its application with the understanding that an alternative plan would come to fruition, such as an acquisition by WVAW.
After Page-Kincaid rejected WVAW’s proposals in early 2020, rehabilitation of the treatment plant did not make substantial process.
Aside from the general investigation, the West Virginia Public Service Commission will require Page-Kincaid to provide requested acquisition information to WVAW.
“The boil water advisory heightens the necessity to explore all available alternatives,” according to the commission’s petition. “It is imperative that Page-Kincaid move quickly to develop a plan to improve the quality of water and water service provided to Page-Kincaid customers.
The petition also requested that a “responsible” utility take over the Page-Kincaid provider.
Now that the commission has declared a general investigation, it will host a status conference at the Public Service Commission’s main room in Charleston on July 16 at 9:30 a.m.