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PSC employees recommends hearth hydrant survey timeline as few dozen reviews nonetheless delinquent

MORGANTOWN – The state Public Service Fee continues to be awaiting replies from just a few dozen utilities on its statewide hearth hydrant security investigation, and the mission is so enormous that PSC employees is recommending that the fee set a procedural schedule.

PSC employees posted a sequence of memos to the fee on Thursday.

One memo says that they’re are actually anticipating fewer replies than initially estimated. They first believed there have been 305 water utilities throughout the state however lowered the quantity to 277 as a result of some utilities don’t have any hydrants, some utilities are defunct, some are operated by different utilities and there was some duplication of data.

Of the 277 which are required to reply to their survey, 49 nonetheless haven’t responded.

Employees additionally famous that the submitted responses differ extensively, with some offering full responses whereas others present simply the naked minimal.

“Engineering Employees continues its evaluation on this massive investigation with a purpose to higher perceive the state-of-the-industry with respect to fireplace hydrant upkeep and testing throughout West Virginia,” the memo says.

In the meantime, authorized employees wrote to the fee, “given the necessity for enough time to correctly correlate, analyze, and assimilate the appreciable quantity of knowledge from this massive, statewide common investigation,” they advocate the fee set a procedural schedule with dates for ultimate submission of excellent reviews, and for potential testimony and hearings if wanted.

PSC despatched out the fireplace hydrant survey to all water utilities on June 30. Rural hydrants are required to have a 500 gallons per minute circulate, whereas the statewide minimal is 250 gpm. They need to be capable of perform for 2 hours – needing 60,000 gallons of storage within the system.

The American Water Works Affiliation units the accepted consensus customary that hydrants have to be inspected yearly and circulate examined each three or 5 years.

PSC has mentioned the survey will permit it to develop a extra intensive database on upkeep and testing of the tens of 1000’s of hydrants throughout the state, what number of are in compliance and what the PSC or the Legislature must do to encourage compliance. It’s by no means earlier than required any utility to offer something apart from the variety of hydrants.

O Sept. 1, the PSC despatched out a letter to the delinquent utilities calling on them to reply inside 10 days. By Sept. 15, a quantity had responded and PSC chair Charlotte Lane mentioned in a press release, “We’re calling every of them to attempt to get the data earlier than we do the rest. Our aim is to attempt to get the data, not punish them.”

The PSC advised legislators in August that hydrants are designed to final 100 years, and there are just a few that previous, however the majority – in response to the responses filed thus far – are lower than 50 years previous and elements are nonetheless accessible.

Prices for changing hydrants generally is a deterrent for small utilities,the PSC mentioned. New hydrants on new water traces price about $5,000 every. New hydrants on present traces, as a part of a much bigger mission, price $10,000 every, And one utility reported changing 10 at $13,000 apiece.

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