Wood County officials OK equipment funds

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners approved purchase of required water backflow preventers on its three downtown county-owned buildings that do not have the equipment.

“We were informed by the Parkersburg Utility board that these are needed on the buildings,” county administrator Marty Seufer told the commissioners. The new Wood County Justice Center had the utility equipment installed when it was constructed, but the courthouse, Shaver Judicial Annex and Judge Black Courthouse Annex do not have the equipment.

“It’s never been a problem before. It seems like an unnecessary expense. Some environmentalist came up with it, but it’s a requirement. We have to do it,” Commissioner Steve Gainer commented when the subject was first brought up earlier this week.

During the commission meeting Thursday, Seufer said two cost quotes were obtained for the equipment: SimplexGrinnell submitted a price of $14,141; Brewer Plumbing Supplies’ cost was $21,860 for the three buildings. The threshold to require the county to seek bids is $15,000.

The commissioners approved entering a contract with SimplexGrinnell for the equipment, with funds to pay for the project to be taken from county building funds.

Gainer said area businesses were being required to install the equipment as well.

“Theoretically it could be a problem,” commission President Wayne Dunn said.

The equipment is designed to protect water supplies from contamination or pollution due to backflow. When water pressure fails or is reduced, like in the case of water mains breaking, pipes freezing or unusually high demand on the water system, the reduced pressure in the pipe may allow contaminated water from the ground or storage or from other sources to get into the system. To prevent such contamination, a backflow prevention device is required.

According to Parkersburg Utility Board regulations, the devices are required by the West Virginia Health Department.

The utility board regulations note a type of outside meter setting (meter yoke) which is equipped with a backflow preventer (check valve) is used.

“The purpose is to prevent the water that has gone through your meter setting from returning to our water main,” according to the regulations.