For eight years, the town of Rivesville has been trying desperately to secure the capital resources necessary to upgrade its municipal water system, but to no avail.

Now, however, following the issuance this week of a grant funding commitment letter for $159,000 from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, the first stage of a project to improve the town’s water supply is finally officially under way.

This project will fully revitalize the entire system, which will include complete upgrades to the water lines and storage tanks throughout the entire town.

“We’ve been after this for eight years, and we’ve been turned down year after year,” said Mayor Ed Mahalick.

Mahalick added that due to the deficient performance of the equipment currently in place, which includes 80-year-old galvanized pipes and other aging system essentials, the town has suffered a 42.9 percent collective water loss. This includes the loss of approximately a million gallons in the last few weeks due to water main breaks.

Consequently, it was because of these types of calamities that the town has been avidly seeking funds to break ground on this total $3.5 million renovation project, of which the $159,000 was recently approved.

Slated as advanced funding for the preliminary-design phase of the project, Mahalick said this approval should give the town a significant and much needed boost toward obtaining the remainder of the funding. Presently, the town is seeking a chunk of the rest of the funds from a Small Cities Block Grant, which it is now much more likely to be approved for.

“We’re now one step closer, and we’re looking like the front runners in this state,” the mayor said. “This puts us in a way better position. If we’re awarded that money, we’ll be able to spend it right away and be able to get the economy boosted and the project finished.”

Having already issued a water rate hike within the town to pay for this design phase, Mahalick said all that’s left to start the work is receiving the grant money, which should be in their hands within the next 30 days.

As of now, the L. Robert Kimball engineering firm is on deck to begin tackling the design details with the issuance of the advanced funds, with firm employee Dan Miller named as the senior project manager.

“We’re going to go ahead and begin the design,” said Miller. “We’re excited to finally go ahead and get it started.”

E-mail Mallory Panuska at mpanuska@timeswv.com.

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