• Eric Hartwell, a consultant with Dunn Engineering, led the way with his report on the progress of the wastewater plant project. Now that mud and debris have been removed from the exposed basins where the vertical loop reactor (VLR) will be situated, workers are ready to pour concrete for another floor level. The site has been cleared and disinfected, and contractors are working on making up lost time to be able to finish the project on deadline.
• Mayor David Smith said unaccountable water losses have plagued Ronceverte, and over the years, the loss has risen to 65 percent. The water pipe system has been in place, with few upgrades, since 1925. Water lines overlap or are not interconnected, the mayor said. To remedy the situation, Dunn Engineering will install more valves throughout the system, Hartwell said, so that, eventually, the leaks can be isolated and resolved. Additionally, the two water tanks serving the town are more than 40 years old and need repairs or replacement.
• Grant consultant Doug Hylton was credited with discovering a major leak after flooding tore through the pavement on Frankford Road. He found an open pipe in a tunnel beneath the road.
• As a result of the June 23 storm, several properties along Frankford Road were damaged and undermined from the force of the water coming down the hill. Hylton said the structures may be included in a FEMA mitigation project. He said FEMA will look at all options for those buildings, whether to repair, rebuild or condemn.
• Hylton went on to discuss other flood-related FEMA business, stating he is gathering data and invoices for seven different categories of grants, which the city qualifies for, including parks and recreation, emergency response, debris cleanup, roads and bridges, water control, buildings and equipment, and utilities. These grants will require a 25 percent match of funds from the city, he said.
FEMA representatives are actively working to help Ronceverte, the mayor said, as well as other municipalities in the county, and are sending people door to door to ensure that everyone is informed and has access to FEMA assistance.
Smith said the city is also trying to support property owners in their recovery efforts to access FEMA resources. “The process is lengthy,” Smith said. “But don’t give up. Stay involved.”
• Island Park looks to have recovered after the flooding of the ball fields. The fencing has been removed and a large magnet scoured the fields of any metallic objects. The Ronceverte Volunteer Fire Department has cleaned the park and sprayed down areas, like the skate park, with disinfectant, the mayor added. Right now there is no power at the park, but the fields are looking good enough for football practice to start later this month. The concession stand and the dugout were wiped out and all field equipment was lost, Smith said. This is an opportune time to make changes to the layout of the playing fields at the park, to make upgrades and have safety features configured in with a Regional Development Corporation grant (RDC), said Hylton.
• Smith said the city has created a large debris pile at the south side of the Rt. 219 bridge, where residents can drop off their debris at no cost. That site will be cleared off by Aug. 11. After that date, residents must take their debris to the landfill themselves, at their own expense, the mayor said.
• City Administrator Reba Mohler announced that the West Virginia Public Service Commission will have a response by mid August on the water rate increases proposed by the city, which were challenged as being too costly by a contingent of residents.