Residents near the proposed riverside location of the new water pump station along the Greenbrier River Trail in Lewisburg are asking for clarification of the forethought being put into the value of the project, and its environmental impact. Currently, a water pump station is located downstream of the county landfill; and the newer facility would be built north of the dump’s watershed reach.
Mayor John Manchester explained that he was familiar with environmental concerns of residents near the proposed project. He said he will always be a frequent hiker of the trail, and has enormous respect for its protection.
Manchester said that one would have to go back about 30 years to when this discussion first began. Back then, it is safe to assume that for financial reasons, planners settled on the current location of the existing water pump in regards to the water treatment plant. He added, “In light of the recent Elk River incident, and the need for clean, reliable and sufficient water for everyone being critical to our quality of life, the time is now for the new station to be built in the suggested location.”
Engineers will spend a great deal of time designing a system which will handle the amount of water needed, and the viability of that section of river providing it. Once those plans are completed, several state oversight organizations will have to sign off on the chosen plan, Manchester added.
The area of the river trail would have to be closed during construction hours, but the use of the trail during the process will be a consideration not taken lightly. Currently, accessing the site would require driving up and down the trail; and that would not be viable for permanent maintenance. Therefore, some private land is being negotiated for acquisition to provide such access to a new water pump station.
The project is not a done deal. There is a pending financial request to the Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council of West Virginia (IJDCWV) in regards to the proposed project. Decisions made by the IJDCWV will determine how the project proceeds.
Meetings of the Public Works Commission, City Council Meetings and City Council Financial Committee meetings are announced in advance, and the public is invited and encouraged to attend these meetings. The new water pump station has been in discussion at these meetings for about two years, and there will be more meetings about the project.
Lastly, Manchester added that the ultimate goal of this project is to achieve the necessary increase in water volume for customers, while minimizing the adverse impact to property owners and trail users.