Update Concerning Elkins-Randolph County Public Library

Jennifer Morgan, chairwoman of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library Board of Trustees, has supplied the following update concerning the library’s next steps after the recent water damage:

We are very pleased to have secured temporary office space downtown to meet the needs of our downtown patrons. To be specific, we have leased the old office of T.R. Ross, which sits next to the Episcopal Church at 324 Randolph Avenue. At this location, we will be able to offer computer services, print/copy/fax services, and limited tutoring/meeting space. We also hope that we can offer books, but this will be done in conjunction with our Beverly Branch. With 24-48 hours notice, we will bring requested books from Beverly to Elkins for patrons. Although on a smaller scale, we are hoping that this location will meet the needs of our in town patrons until we can get our library back up and running.

As for our future plans, we are taking this opportunity to expand our current library. We have been working with an architect to design a space at our current location. We are adding a second story to provide much needed additional space. Our new facility will have multiple tutoring rooms, meeting rooms and conference rooms, more computers and a revamped children’s area. We will have a large classroom attached to a full kitchen so that meetings can enjoy refreshments or cooking classes can be held. The Friends of the Library group will have a dedicated office. We are still working out the details, but this will be such a wonderful rebuild for the entire Elkins/Randolph County community.

UPDATE: Boil Water Near Old High School LIFTED

Last modified on April 9th, 2022 at 07:47 am

Update as of Saturday, 4/9, 7:30 a.m.: This Boil Water Notice has been lifted. Lab testing found no contamination.

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Update as of Friday, 4/8: The Boil Water Notice remains in effect. The earliest that laboratory testing can be completed and the notice lifted is Saturday, April 9.

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Crews are responding to a water leak in the vicinity of 13th Street and South Henry, near the old Elkins High School and current RCPS bus garage.

While repairs are underway, water will be off to customers on sections of Cole Avenue, 13th Street, 15th Street, South Henry Avenue, and South Kerens Avenue. (The approximate area is shown in yellow on the below map. The affected water lines are shown in red.)

After repairs are complete and service has been restored, a Boil Water Notice will be in effect for these same customers. The earliest that laboratory testing can be completed and the notice lifted is Saturday, April 9.

Boil Water Notices are issued out of an abundance of caution because positive pressure has been lost and the possibility of contamination exists, not because contamination has been detected. The presence or absence of contamination must be confirmed by an independent lab through a testing process that requires at least 24 hours after delivery of a sample. Samples cannot be taken until the leak has been repaired and service has been restored. Samples can only be submitted during business hours. For more information about what to do under a Boil Water Notice, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the Boil Water Notice is lifted. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow these channels:

UPDATE: Boil Water on Ferguson Road LIFTED

Last modified on March 6th, 2022 at 01:57 pm

Update as of March 6, 1;08 p.m.: This Boil Water Notice has been lifted. No contamination was detected.

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As a result of loss of pressure on a water main during repair of a leak, a Boil Water Notice has been issued for water customers on Ferguson Road east of Harris Street. The earliest that laboratory testing can be completed and the notice lifted is Sunday, March 6.

Boil Water Notices are issued out of an abundance of caution because positive pressure has been lost and the possibility of contamination exists, not because contamination has been detected. The presence or absence of contamination must be confirmed by an independent lab through a testing process that requires at least 24 hours after delivery of a sample. Samples cannot be taken until the leak has been repaired and service has been restored. Samples can only be submitted during business hours. For more information about what to do under a Boil Water Notice, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the Boil Water Notice is lifted. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:

UPDATE: Water Outage Tuesday in West Elkins EXTENDED

Last modified on February 22nd, 2022 at 05:52 pm

2/22: Water Outage Extended

February 22nd, 2022 | 5:49 pm

Water outage announced here will continue through the evening due to difficulties encountered underground. Outage area now includes Tygart Valley Mall because a second line needed to be secured.

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On Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m., water customers near West Central Street, Wilson Lane, and Vernon Avenue, including Mountain Memories Assisted Living, will experience a water outage.

Elkins water system employees will be terminating an abandoned section of 18-inch line near Wilson Lane, behind the Tygart Valley Mall. Water service to Elkins Middle School will not be affected.

This work is projected to be completed during business hours but may be extended as a result of conditions encountered underground.

The approximate affected area is outlined in red in the below map.

Update: Boil Water Notice near Industrial Park LIFTED

Last modified on January 29th, 2022 at 07:50 am

Update as of 1/29, 7:45 a.m.: This Boil Water Notice has been lifted. Lab testing found no contamination in the sample.

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As a result of loss of pressure on a water main during repair of a leak, a Boil Water Notice has been issued for certain water customers in First and Second Ward, near Elkins Industrial Park. The earliest laboratory testing can be completed and the notice lifted is  Saturday, January 29.

The area of the Boil Water Notice is bounded by the Tygart Valley River, South Davis Avenue, 15th Street, and Industrial Park Road. See map below.

Boil Water Notices are issued out of an abundance of caution because positive pressure has been lost and the possibility of contamination exists, not because contamination has been detected. The presence or absence of contamination must be confirmed by an independent lab through a testing process that requires at least 24 hours after delivery of a sample. Samples cannot be taken until the leak has been repaired and service has been restored. Samples can only be submitted during business hours. For more information about what to do under a Boil Water Notice, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the Boil Water Notice is lifted. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:

 

Prepare for Water Outage: South Elkins and Wilson Hill

City of Elkins is responding to a break in a 12-inch transmission line near Builder’s Supply. When we shut off water to this line, customers throughout South Elkins, including Jennings Randolph Elementary School, and customers in a large section of Second Ward, including Wilson Hill and Elkins Middle School, will lose water pressure until repairs are completed.

We do not plan to shut this line down until school is dismissed. However, because of the size of the line and resulting high water pressure, there is a risk of an additional large rupture that will effectively shut off water service to the areas mentioned.

Please begin making preparations for a sudden loss of water service in these areas. (Note that map is very approximate and may not capture all areas that would be affected. If you are near the indicated zone, you should make preparations.)

Updated: Boil Water on Ward Avenue Lifted

Last modified on December 18th, 2021 at 08:04 am

Update as of Dec. 18, 8 a.m.: The Ward Avenue Boil Water Notice has been lifted. Lab testing found no contamination.

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Update as of 12/17,  9 a.m.: Repairs are complete. A sample is being submitted for independent lab testing this morning. Earliest results will be available morning of 12/18.

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Water Service Interruption South of Sixteenth Street

As a result of loss of pressure on a water main during repair of a leak, a Boil Water Notice has been issued for water customers on Ward Avenue in First Ward. The earliest update concerning this notice will be on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 18.

During repairs, water customers in South Elkins south of Sixteenth Street will experience low or no water pressure, but the Boil Water Notice only affects Ward Avenue.

Boil Water Notices are issued out of an abundance of caution because positive pressure has been lost and the possibility of contamination exists, not because contamination has been detected. The presence or absence of contamination must be confirmed by an independent lab through a testing process that requires at least 24 hours after delivery of a sample. Samples cannot be taken until the leak has been repaired and service has been restored. Samples can only be submitted during business hours. For more information about what to do under a Boil Water Notice, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the Boil Water Notice is lifted. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:

Now Collecting Bagged Leaves Only

City of Elkins has ended collection of loose leaves and is now collecting bagged leaves only. Bagged leaves will generally be collected within two business days of notification.

Place the bagged leaves at the curb and contact the Operations Department at (304)-636-1414, ext. 1437 to report the location of the bagged leaves for pick up.

Bags must contain only leaves and no yard waste or trash.

Kump Education Center to Host Holiday Family Celebration

ELKINS-The Kump Education Center is sponsoring a Holiday Family Celebration, Friday, December 17 through Sunday, December 19 from 2-5 p.m. each day at the historic Kump House. The three-day open house event will feature nativities and traditions from around the world, tours of the home and crafts for children.

“We are excited to continue the tradition of opening the Kump House during the holiday season and celebrate international Christmas customs,” said Heather Biola, director of the Kump Education Center (KEC). “We are also focusing on the importance of family, especially during this time of covid. Family means more than our own family; it is the human family all over the world.”

The Emma Scott Garden Club will once again decorate the Kump House with creches, nativities, and other decorations from around the world. “The Garden Club did such a wonderful job in 2019 with our 1930s celebration, we were thrilled that they volunteered their talents and time for this year’s event,” Biola said.

The Kump House, located on Randolph Ave., is a 26-room brick Neo-Federal Revival style home designed in 1924 for Herman Guy Kump, the 19th governor of West Virginia. Gov. Kump served during the Great Depression from 1933-1937 and is known for his support of rural public education. Today the KEC is continuing that legacy by dedicating itself to the promotion and creation of innovative educational initiatives. The City of Elkins owns the property which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The open house is scheduled over a three-day period to allow for proper CDC social distancing protocol. The use of masks is highly recommended. The children’s craft area will be in the recently upgraded Altice Learning Lab that includes improved air filtration systems. Visitors are also asked to use the back entrance of the Kump House located off Seneca Trail Road, located north of the main entrance to the facility.

Admission to the holiday celebration is free but donations are requested which will support KEC education and restoration efforts.

“We have made significant progress on restoring the home and have exciting plans for the future,” said Biola. “We want to share this with the community as well as celebrate this beautiful season of peace.”

For more information about the Holiday Family Celebration or the Kump Education Center, visit the Kump Education Center Facebook page.

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Contact: Nanci Bross-Fregonara, Communications Director, Kump Education Center, fregonarafamily@cebridge.net

Why So Many Water Outages?

There is clearly an unacceptable number of ongoing water outages and sometimes resulting Boil Water Notices.

What is going on?

One major reason is that many underground water lines in Elkins are past their end-of-life and need to be replaced.

The reason problems have spiked lately in South Elkins, however, is related to the great amount of soil disturbance that occurred as part of the sewer/stormwater separation project earlier this year. (It appears that the soil under much of South Elkins is *extremely* soft and bordering on liquid in places.)

Making things even worse are the large number of broken valves throughout our system. Valves are used to turn off the flow of water to certain sections of the system.

In a perfect world, for last night’s repair on Whiteman Avenue, we could have closed a valve that would have caused an outage for only a small number of surrounding customers.

However, because many of the smaller valves are not functioning, it is necessary to instead turn off valves on larger mains, which results in outages over a much wider area. (This is one reason why our water workers often attempt to make repairs “under pressure,” meaning without turning off the water, to avoid these outages. This means they must work with spraying water, which is obviously less practical as the weather gets colder.)

So, what is the city doing about this?

Council has dedicated a portion of ARPA funds to an engineering study and plan for the systematic replacement and upgrading of the city’s water lines. Although we won’t know exact costs of such a project until this study is complete, it will likely cost tens of millions of dollars.

Addressing this problem is a current focus of council and the Water Board and plans are being formulated to address it, however it will be a long process. It may be that the valve issue is “low hanging fruit” and could be addressed sooner than later, reducing the number of widespread outages. We are actively working to determine this.

Some Facebook commenters have wondered what would happen if there were a fire in an area experiencing an outage. Keep in mind that these outages result not from the water-main break but from turning off the water at a valve. If there were a fire and hydrants were needed in an affected area, we would simply reenergize the valve and restore service. Although this would cause the broken pipe to start leaking again, this would obviously be acceptable in the face of a need to protect life and property from fire.

Other Facebook commenters wondered why we don’t predict when repairs will be completed when there are outages. The problem is that we just don’t know. For example, especially due to the extremely brittle cast-iron pipes prevalent in South Elkins, sometimes turning the water on after one leak triggers another, which can as much as double repair times. It is just not practical to try to accurately predict repair times.

Another issue: Even if we had the tens of millions of dollars necessary to make all needed improvements in hand right now, there are and will continue to be significant inventory problems, due to both the pandemic supply-chain issues and the fact that every city in the country has ARPA funds to spend on projects like this, including huge cities with much larger projects *and* much larger ARPA disbursements that are able to basically clear the shelves of the same pipes and valves we would need.

Everyone at the city (many of whom live in South Elkins are affected themselves) is frustrated about this situation and deeply regrets the frequent inconvenience. We hope everyone understands that this is a big problem that cannot be fixed overnight but is being worked on.

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