PUB plans monitoring wells

PARKERSBURG – The Parkersburg Utility Board plans to install at least three monitoring wells to guard against potential contamination of its water supply.

During their regular meeting Wednesday morning, utility board members approved an agreement with Parkersburg-based Burgess & Niple to provide engineering services related to the project, not to exceed $6,600. The board also approved bids for four new vehicles that a recently approved bond issue will finance.

Utility board Manager Eric Bennett said the monitoring wells were being considered before the Legislature passed Senate Bill 373 earlier this year in response to chemicals being spilled from a storage tank at Freedom Industries into the Elk River, contaminating the water supply for about 300,000 people in Kanawha and surrounding counties. The monitoring wells would be part of the PUB’s source water protection plan required by the law.

Before the end of the year, it is expected the three monitoring wells will be installed 1,000 feet from wells along the east bank of the Ohio River “so that we can monitor them routinely and head off any potential contamination,” Bennett said.

Those wells, and two more on Neale Island, draw water from underground rather than the Ohio River, making them less vulnerable to contamination.

The project is estimated to cost about $25,000, with a grant from the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health expected to cover most, if not all, of the expense, Bennett said.

The agreement for engineering services passed 3-0, with board member Gregory Herrick abstaining because he retired from Burgess and Niple.

Bids for four new vehicles – three from Matheny Motor Truck Co. in Mineral Wells – were also approved during the meeting.

Two bids were received for a high-pressure water and vacuum sewer cleaner truck, both of which were over the $280,000 originally budgeted for the vehicle. Staff members recommended the $321,827 bid from Pennsylvania-based Golden Equipment Co. Inc. because it complied with the bid specifications, unlike the $291,885 bid from West Virginia Tractor Co.

Golden offered an Aquatech truck built by Hi-Vac Corp. in Marietta.

“We like their equipment. We’ve got their equipment,” Bennett said.

A $15,000 trade-in allowance helps cut the cost, as does a bid for a dump truck that came in about $13,000 below what was budgeted.

“I did some math on the next (bids), and we’re only down 13, 14 (thousand) instead of 27,” Herrick said.

The PUB received three bids, all from Matheny, for a dump truck. The board voted in favor of the staff recommendation for an $86,696 Hino truck with a Hardox bed that is more resistant to dents.

“You can look at most of our dump trucks after five years and the sides are beat in pretty good,” Bennett said.

Matheny was the loan bidder for a half-ton pickup at $27,073.20 and a smaller pickup at $27,457.80. The former came in slightly under the $28,000 budgeted, while the latter exceeded the $25,000 budget figure.

Bennett said multiple companies were notified of the bids.

Board member Paul Hoblitzell abstained from the three votes involving Matheny bids because he is related to one of the co-owners.

The new vehicles will be financed over five years through a maximum $1 million bond issue recently approved by Parkersburg City Council.

That also included two backhoes and a service truck, but Bennett said information is still being gathered on the backhoes and he’s looking at changes to the service truck specs after the bids came in too high. He expects to bring those bids before the board at its Aug. 27 meeting.