WINFIELD, W.Va. — The mayor of Winfield has started discussions with the Putnam Public Service District to possibly have the system as a back-up water source or more for his residents.
Mayor Randy Barrett said the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River and resulting contamination of the West Virginia American Water Company system has left residents concerned. Winfield is part of the system that was impacted by the chemical Crude MCHM.
The Putnam PSD has its own reservoir and was not impacted by the water emergency. The PSD serves the Teays Valley and Hurricane areas.
Mayor Barrett said Tuesday preliminary discussions are underway.
“I think we do need a back-up source, the line is not very far from us,” he said. “We need at minimum a back up system.”
Barrett said separating from West Virginia American Water wouldn’t be easy to do. He said the state Public Service Commission would ultimately have to be involved. But the mayor said he has to think about residents of his city first and foremost.
“If the citizens of Winfield are not secure, happy with West Virginia (American) Water and they want to go another way it’s my due diligence to see, if possible, we can go to another vendor for water,” the mayor said.
Mayor Barrett broached the subject with Putnam PSD for the first time Monday.
“They did want to talk about it,” he said.
The mayor said many Winfield residents continue to use bottled water even after West Virginia American has declared the water safe and lifted the Do Not Use order.
The mayor stressed any possible switch or back-up agreement is very early in the discussion stage but it’s worth exploring.
“You’re not doing your job if you don’t at least find your options,” he said.
WVAWC has more than 1,200 customers in the general Winfield area.