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Parkersburg Utility Board receives update on multiple projects

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg Utility Board received updates Tuesday on multiple projects.

A $19 million water system improvement project with four main components is underway.

Equipment is being pulled in this week for Orders Construction Company Inc. of St. Albans to upgrade the water treatment plant’s backwash basin, part of a $2.83 million contract, PUB Manager Eric Bennett told board members during their regular meeting.

The bulk of the cost goes to new water main lines. Stonegate Construction in Belpre will replace 20,000 feet of small-diameter water mains on a $4.55 million contract, while Tribute Contracting & Consultants from South Point, Ohio, will replace 36,400 feet of large-diameter mains on an $8.4 million contract.

“The construction should start early July,” Bennett said.

Site work has been done and the foundation poured for a 200,000-gallon elevated water storage tank near Parkersburg South High School, he said after the meeting. It’s being built by Caldwell Tanks Inc. of Kentucky on a $1.42 million contract.

The projects are being funded by $7 million in American Rescue Plan funding provided by the City of Parkersburg, an $11 million loan from the state Drinking Water Treatment Revolving Fund and PUB reserves. The loan will be repaid by a three-year, phased water rate increase that goes into effect July 1 and was reduced by the ARPA contribution.

A separate project to rehabilitate the chemical feed building and do other upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant was originally estimated at $1.5 million, but rising prices and some expansion of the scope has the new estimate at $3.3 million, Bennett said.

However, he said he spoke with state Water Development Authority officials and believes the project will be eligible for the Economic Enhancement Fund established earlier this year by the West Virginia Legislature. Funded with $250 million in ARPA money, it’s intended to address projects that come in over budget as a result of rising costs, Bennett said.

“We should be able to get that bid overrun through that fund,” he said. “Things are looking good that we can get all that done.”

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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