July 26, 2008

Clean Water Coming to Buchanan Community

By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va.

Jul. 26--GRUNDY, Va. -- Clean drinking water will soon flow to families living along Convict Hollow in Buchanan County.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced Friday the award of a $239,250 Virginia Community Development Block Grant to the Buchanan County Public Service Authority to be used for the Convict Hollow Waterline Extension Project.

"There is nothing more fundamental to health and well being than having access to safe drinking water," Kaine said in a press release. "It is a priority of my administration to ensure that all Virginians have access to safe and reliable drinking water. This grant advances that goal by giving dozens of Virginians in Buchanan County access to clean water."

Kaine said the block grant will come from the state's Construction Ready Water and Sewer Fund. The grant funding is awarded to communities with ready-to-start projects that provide water or sewer services to communities with at least 50 percent low-to-moderate income households.

"I have the pipe already sitting and waiting to go," Buchanan County Public Service Authority Administrator Darrell Cantrell said. "We've got all of our materials in place, and hope to get started. We would anticipate starting the first of next month. So you are looking at a couple of weeks at most. As far as the length of time of construction, you are probably looking at 90 days."

Cantrell said residents living in the Convict Hollow community are currently dependent upon well water, and some have springs. Cantrell said the PSA currently hauls water to several others.

"The Convict Hollow Waterline Extension Project will eliminate a public health threat by providing a safe and reliable source of water to these households that are not currently served by public water sources," Bill Shelton, director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, said in the press release.

Cantrell said the project will be matched by $18,032 in funds from the Cumberland Plateau Planning District, and another $16,462 in local funds.

Cantrell said the Convict Hollow community is located in the western end of Buchanan County near the Harmon community. The community is not located near the Keen Mountain Correctional Center. Cantrell said he didn't know how the community got its name.

"The area in question has had some issues with water quality in their wells," Cantrell said. "Having checked on the water quality of these wells, it was determined the creek was being effected by possible -- and we don't know for sure but possible sewer failures and etc., etc. It is a very much needed project, and one we've been looking forward to doing for a good while."

-- Contact Charles Owens at [email protected]


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