By Erin Beck
Both Shinnston and Lumberport councils have approved commissioning a study on the prospect of Shinnston selling water to Lumberport.
Lumberport officials approved studying the feasibility of such a project on Jan. 3, said Lumberport Mayor Betty O’Dell, while Shinnston officials authorized the study on Jan. 10.
Officials are asking Thrasher Engineering to also consider whether another solution would better improve service for residents of Lumberport, according to multiple officials involved in the initiative.
“We have some really hard water here and we’re just trying to get better water for our town,” said O’Dell.
Shinnston approached Lumberport about the potential project.
The Thrasher Group will conduct the study. There isn’t a set timeline.
“Hopefully quick,” O’Dell said, although she cautioned that the project may never come to fruition. She also noted that Thrasher may determine another solution is more cost-effective.
Shinnston City Manager Chad Edwards said Thrasher would review the cost of Lumberport upgrading its own plant, as well as the cost of transferring water from Shinnston’s plant.
“It comes down to how much water they use daily, and can we supply that amount along with what we’ve been supplying to everybody else,” he said.
He said Thrasher was not given a maximum cost for the study, but he said he estimated the study would cost about $15,000.
In previous meetings, council members for each municipality selected representatives to serve on a project committee.
Rick Scott, one of those who represents Lumberport, said the committee recently met and heard from two companies interested in conducting the study. After scoring the two companies, they selected Thrasher, he said.
Scott said Lumberport’s plant is antiquated, and its reservoir is filled with sediment.
He estimated it’s been 25 years since any major upgrade to Lumberport’s water treatment plant. But transferring water from Shinnston could be expensive, since it would require pumping water under the river at Haywood, he added.
He said at the very least, he’d like to see Shinnston and Lumberport lines tied together since they both go into the Harrison Power Station in close proximity.
“If you went over there and hooked those two lines together, even if Lumberport’s plant went down, you might be able to get 80% of Lumberport’s customers in water,” said Clark, who retired as chief from the Clarksburg Fire Department. “But now if Shinnston’s went down, Lumberport’s plant could run and fill Shinnston’s storage tank because our tanks are higher than them and water just (seeps) to the highest level.”
Officials are seeking American Rescue Plan COVID-relief money.
“I like when I turn on the spigot and water comes out,” Clark laughed. “It’s pretty nice to take baths and wash your clothes. I think it’s great that the two cities are working together, trying to solve a problem. I think it’ll take awhile but I think we’ll work it out and see what the engineer says and go to work.”