West Virginia Rural Areas Still Without Vital Services After Floods

July 13, 2016

Residents in some southern West Virginia public service districts are still without water more than two weeks after severe flooding.

The Kanawha Falls Public Service District, the utility service that provides water to Gauley Bridge, has been able to restore service to the main part of town, but a dozen homes and four businesses are without water because they are separated by the Gauley River, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Kanawha Falls PSD is one of more than 20 water utility services throughout the state affected by the severe flooding. And many of these public service districts were already cash-strapped from a shrinking customer base before last month’s floods thanks to the decline in the coal industry, officials said.

“The infrastructure that was put in place, and the loans that were taken out to put in the infrastructure, don’t go away because the customer base is decreasing,” said Amy Swann, the executive director at the West Virginia Rural Water Association

Customers can expect rate increases to occur to help pay for the costs of restoring water, Swann said. FEMA’s public assistance program can help, but the reimbursement program covers only 75 percent of the cost.

“The bills still come,” Swann said. “I think for the areas that were hit, some of them were communities that were already struggling.”

The June 23 floods killed 23 people and ravaged homes, businesses and infrastructure several communities, spurring a federal disaster declaration for a dozen West Virginia counties.


Topics Flood Virginia West Virginia

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