Rep. Nick Joe Rahall visited the Bud-Alpoca area last Friday as the community’s water problems continue to attract statewide and national attention.
The area has been on a boil water advisory for six months. Rahall stopped at Herndon Consolidated School and later met with residents at the Alpoca Pentecostal Church of God.
At the school, Principal Virginia Lusk told him that donations of bottled water have been coming in from around the country.
“There are people from Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey who want to send water,” she told Rahall. Bottled water donations have come from North Carolina and Spanishburg, she pointed out. Representatives of the Governor’s Office and Sen. Joe Manchin’s office have visted, Lusk reported.
“People have gone above and beyond (to help),” she stated.
Eastern Wyoming Public Service District is in the process of taking over the system, which was privately owned.
“They’re chlorinating it, putting chemicals in it,” said Lusk.
Rahall said he would like to set up a meeting of the government entities and other affected parties.
He said he would like to see the Governor’s Office, the National Guard, the Corps of Engineers and others involved.
“They can help us come up with ideas of what can be done,” Rahall stated.
“We want to find the quickest, most expedited way to do this,” he remarked.
About two dozen residents attended the meeting at the church to ask questions and comment on the situation.
Virgil Shrewsbury, treasurer of the Eastern Wyoming PSD, reviewed the history and the status of the Bud-Alpoca water system.
He said the PSD is negotiating for the purchase of the system.
PSD workers are already at work on the system. A $5.7 million project, most of funded through the AML (Abandoned Mine Land), will connect Mullens to Covel.
That project is about a year from its construction start, Shrewsbury indicated. Bud-Alpoca will eventually be connected to that system. Shrewsbury says PSD employees are continuing to “experiment” to make the water clear. Some residents said they did not want to wait a year for clean water.
Shrewsbury said the PSD could have the water clear in a matter of days or weeks.
Rahall indicated he would arrange a meeting with representatives of the Regional Health Office, the Public Service
Commission and others.
Photo: Congressman Nick Rahall (left) talks with Herndon Consolidated School Principal Virginia Lusk about water problems in the Bud-Alpoca area.