W.Va. pursues more than $18 million in Appalachian funding

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W.Va. pursues more than $18 million in Appalachian funding
More than two thirds of the grants are earmarked for W.Va. water and sewage projects. (Photo courtesy Kazuend)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has recommended more than $18 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grant funding for 11 projects — chiefly those that improve water and sewerage infrastructure.

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W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice stressed that the programming to be awarded was vital to the state's growing economy. “These upgrades are going to be phenomenal, and we really appreciate the Appalachian Regional Commission for giving us the ability to recommend and give these grants to these communities throughout West Virginia,” he said.

“These projects will not only address many of our community and economic development needs in the state but also take advantage of our assets so that we can continue to grow our economy.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments across the Appalachian region. It aims to innovate, partner, and invest in building community capacity and strengthening economic growth in Appalachia.

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The West Virginia Department of Economic Development administers the state’s commission program, a partnership of federal, state, and local participants providing financial and technical assistance for economic development and infrastructure projects.

The governor’s recommendations will now be sent to the commission for final approval. Projects recommended for Appalachian Regional Commission funding include:


W.Va. Rural Water Association — $187,392

Infrastructure Consultancy Project

The project will provide funding for a drinking water and wastewater consultant to provide technical assistance to water and wastewater systems in the state. The project will assist and consult with local utilities in areas such as leak detection work, preventing inflow and infiltration, utility finance and management, water and wastewater system operations, and loan servicing. The project will enable local utilities to address critical issues without hiring additional staff and promote more efficient operation and management of existing systems.

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Eastern W.Va. Regional Airport Authority — $49,483

MRB Air Cargo Market Demand and Feasibility Study

The project will increase economic development in the eastern panhandle region of West Virginia in Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties by conducting an air cargo feasibility study for the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport and an industry sector market analysis for the James Rumsey Technical Institute’s entrepreneurship center.


Lincoln County / Hamlin PSD — $3,325,000

Hamlin Sewer Replacement and Upgrade

The project will upgrade the existing stormwater and sewer system in the Hamlin area of Lincoln County. In addition, the project will extend sewer service to the Lincoln County Business Park. The existing system currently experiences high rates of inflow and infiltration and is beyond its useful life. The project will benefit 678 existing customers and expand economic development opportunities in the area by extending sewer service to the business park.

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Barbour County / Town of Junior — $1,452,000

Junior Water System Improvements

The project will upgrade the existing water distribution system in the Town of Junior in Barbour County, including replacing water lines, valves, water meters, and fire hydrants. Many of the Town’s water lines are at the end of their useful life and require frequent maintenance to repair breaks and leaks. The project will benefit 396 existing customers.


Webster County / Cowen PSD — $3,000,000

Birch River Route 82 Water Extension

The project will extend public water service to 60 new customers along Route 82 in Webster County. Customers in the project area rely upon unreliable private wells that run dry or contain high contaminants. The project will provide residents in the area with a source of safe and reliable water and fire service protection.

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Braxton County / Flatwoods-Canoe Run PSD — $2,575,000

Holly Gray Park Sewer Extension

The project extends sewer service to 79 new customers along WV Route 15 between the communities of Flatwoods and Sutton in Braxton County. Currently, customers in the area utilize individual septic systems that are failing or discharge directly into nearby streams. The project will also upgrade wastewater facilities at Holly Gray Park, a county-owned park with recreational and camping amenities. The project increases the quality of life for local residents, improves stream quality, and enhances outdoor recreation development in the area.


Wetzel County / New Martinsville — $800,800

AAA Mobile Home Water System Improvements

The project will install a new water distribution system in the AAA Mobile Home Park in the Steelton area of New Martinsville. The current water distribution system in the park is antiquated and has experienced numerous line breaks and leakage. In addition, the current distribution system layout does not afford efficient access for the system's operation, maintenance, and repairs. The project will improve access and service and benefit 240 new customers.

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Mingo County / City of Williamson — $4,200,000

Williamson Water System Upgrade

The project will upgrade the water treatment, storage, and distribution system in the City of Williamson in Mingo County. Currently, the system’s storage capacity is insufficient for existing customers and inhibits economic expansion in the area. Operations and maintenance costs are also high due to aging and failing equipment. The project increases water storage capacity and efficiencies in the city’s system and benefits 1,742 existing customers.


Roane County / Walton PSD — $2,000,000

Walton Sewer Project

The project will construct a wastewater treatment plant and collection system to serve approximately 115 residential and commercial customers in the Walton area of Roane County, including Walton Elementary School. The project area currently has raw sewage discharging into nearby waterways, and the lack of public sewer inhibits the development of local housing and businesses.

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W.Va. Department of Economic Development — $220,000

Consolidated Technical Assistance

With ARC funding assistance, the West Virginia Department of Economic Development will continue its consolidated technical assistance program. The grant allows the department to employ staff to provide technical assistance to ARC applicants and grantees, monitor and administer ongoing projects, draft and implement the West Virginia Development Plan, and operate the West Virginia Main Street and ON TRAC programs.


W.Va. Development Office — $250,000

Competitive Improvement Program

The project will provide training and consultation services to small and medium-sized firms in West Virginia to increase their competitiveness. The project will address a unique need for which no other funding sources are available. The results of these services will be a more significant number of companies increasing the range of their market and market share and a commensurate increase in the number of jobs retained or created.

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