Water company considers options for second intake

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water Company President Jeff McIntyre said providing a second water intake for the company’s Kanawha Valley Plant in Charleston would cost at least $70 million.

McIntyre said the company’s engineers are just beginning to look at options for what can be done as a backup for the plant that was impacted by the Jan. 9 chemical spill and the water emergency that followed.

McIntyre told members of the House Judiciary Committee a secondary intake would be a major project.

The Kanawha Valley Plant on the Elk River currently has no secondary intake.

“The current engineering analysis suggests that we would micro-tunnel underneath the city (Charleston) to a point where we come above and do open cut and go 12 miles up the Kanawha (River) to above Belle,” McIntyre said.

He added they would have to go that far above Charleston because there’s been a moratorium on water intakes on the Kanawha River from that point to Charleston for years. He said the water has not been rated Class A.

McIntyre said the range of cost of the project would $70 million to $105 million. He said the numbers are in no way final.

“These are very preliminary engineering estimates that have not been through the rigor of an engineering design,” McIntyre said.

WVAWC is also considering a water impoundment but McIntyre said that potential option also would have challenges and is more expensive.

“If you were to impound five days worth (of water) you would need 250 million gallons. Our engineers suggest that’s 110 acres and it’s probably a hollow you would have to dam and everyone in West Virginia knows some of the issues with dams and fears,” McIntyre said.

The storage tank and water protection legislation currently before lawmakers does not include a requirement for a second intake. The cost of any project would likely be passed on to water customers.


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