The Times West Virginian

March 6, 2014

Colfax closer to better water, sewer system

Small Cities Block Grant is being sought

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Residents in the Colfax area are one step closer to a better water and sewer system.

During a public hearing with the Marion County Commission on Wednesday, commissioners made a motion to sponsor the Colfax Public Service District as it applies for a Small Cities Block Grant.

Lee Wolfe, with the Region VI Planning and Development Council, said in the 2013-14 fiscal year, $13,429,610 was received by the state for the Small Cities Block Grant. This fiscal year, she said there is $7,926,722 for the Small Cities Black Grant.

“That’s not very much for the whole state,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said because of the decrease in funds, the application process for the grant has changed and is more technical. She said certain sewer and water projects qualify for the grant money.

Wolfe said Marion County projects can apply for $1.5 million through the Small Cities Block Grant.

“That has been the amount for several years,” she said.

Kylea DeMarco, project engineer with Thrasher Engineering, is working with the Colfax PSD to have new sewer lines put in for the 129 paying customers in Colfax. If the PSD is given the grant, the project will connect customers to Fairmont through Kingmill Valley lines.

DeMarco said Thrasher has been working with the Colfax PSD on the development of the project since late 2012. She said in an agreement, Thrasher was able to do a preliminary study, an engineering report and an inflow and infrastructure flow monitoring study with the Colfax PSD.

After gathering the data, DeMarco said they discussed several ways to fix the water and sewer system in the Colfax area. The decision was made to work with the area’s existing collection system and to demolish its treatment plant.

When working on the existing system, DeMarco said the project calls for connecting it to the nearby utilities of Kingmill Valley Public Service District and the City of Fairmont.

“All of Kingmill Valley sewage is treated at the City of Fairmont’s system,” she said.

Connecting Colfax’s existing system is more financially beneficial than building a new treatment plant, according to DeMarco.

“To build a new treatment plant would be infeasible to put that much effect on the ratepayer,” she said.

The public hearing was required so the Colfax PSD could get permission from the county commission to apply for the Small Cities Block Grant.

The next step is a technical review with the West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs Development Council. DeMarco said they will apply for the Small Cities Block Grant in May.

“Usually that money doesn’t get allocated until the end of the year or beginning of the next year,” she said.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.