UPDATE: Boil Water Near Lavallette LIFTED

Last modified on August 24th, 2022 at 08:22 am

Update as of 8/24, 8:19 a.m.: Boil Water Notice near Livingston, Lavallette, Taylor, 13th has been LIFTED.
Lab testing found no contamination.


Water system personnel are responding to a water leak in a service line in the 1400 block of Lavallette Avenue. Water had to be secured as quickly as possible to minimize flooding.

While repairs are underway, water will be off or low pressure for customers on Lavalette Avenue, Taylor Avenue, and their adjacent alleys, as well parts of 13th Street and Livingston Avenue. (The approximate area is shown in red on the below map.) South Davis Avenue customers are not served by the affected lines.

After repairs are complete and service has been restored, a Boil Water Notice will be in effect for these customers (not including South Davis Avenue customers). The earliest that laboratory testing can be completed and the notice lifted is Wednesday, August 24.

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 bookmark this blog post and follow these channels:


Elkins Water Board Recommends Emergency Rate Increase

The Elkins Water Board has recommended an emergency rate increase of 32 percent for city water customers, and the Elkins council could approve the increase as soon as September 15.

This increase, which is essential for the utility to avoid insolvency in response to regulatory changes at the state level and huge inflation-driven increases in supply costs, would become effective immediately upon passage. An additional 3 percent increase would become effective in summer of 2023. (more…)

Elkins Water Plant Hosts EPA Workshop

Regulators from across the country gathered to learn about membrane treatment plants

What makes for safe drinking water? Those in the water-treatment field know that the answer to this question can be something of a moving target.

As scientific knowledge and treatment technologies advance, what the field considers to be safe levels of certain contaminants today may come to be seen as dangerously high down the road. Even before such developments result in formal rule changes, an EPA program called AWOP (Area-Wide Optimization Program) encourages local water utilities to exceed current regulations by optimizing performance of existing facilities without costly capital improvements.

AWOP officials and water regulators from three of the six nationwide AWOP regions recently traveled to Elkins. The purpose of the gathering was to hold the region’s first workshop about applying the AWOP approach in plants that use membrane treatment (such as the Elkins Water Treatment Plant). Attendees included representatives from seven state drinking water programs, three regional EPA offices, the EPA Technical Services Center in Cincinnati, the director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, and Process Application, Inc. (an EPA contractor).

When the request came in for Elkins to host this workshop, Wes Lambert, the chief operator of the Elkins water system, jumped at the chance.

“This workshop is for regulators who don’t get very many chances to actually go hands-on at a membrane treatment plant,” he says. “Membrane technology is still new in the United States and especially here in West Virginia, and regulators are still figuring out what the goal posts should look like. It was really encouraging for me and my team that they would pick our plant to come to as part of the process of shaping regulations for the whole nation.”

By design, the drinking water produced by membrane plants, also called effluent, already exceeds EPA standards, but there can nonetheless be room for improvement in other aspects of plant operations, maintenance, and data management. This workshop focused on membrane data integrity, or the extent to which data collected by automated sensors matches the results of traditional manual sampling.

Using the Elkins Water Treatment Plant as a case study, workshop attendees divided into groups to try their hands at seven different data-related special studies looking at various aspects of the plant’s data management, including examining and understanding the functioning of a vital plant system called SCADA (Supervisory Access and Data Acquisition).

“One reason this workshop needed to take place in a working membrane plant is because these regulators want to get a firm understanding of how accurate this kind of system really is,” says Lambert. “They don’t want to base their regulations on the manufacturers’ claims because these systems may perform differently out here in the field.”

According to Lambert, the attendees seemed impressed by the Elkins plant’s record-keeping and transparency.

“We hear that a lot of systems aren’t always welcoming to outside eyes, because they might be afraid deficiencies could be discovered,” he says. “Personally, I welcome visits from people of this caliber to help evaluate what we do, because it’s a great learning opportunity for all.”

Lambert said the training was a big success for hosts and attendees alike.

“This really was time well spent,” says Lambert. “This is a field where if you aren’t constantly learning, you are going to fall behind. Everyone learned a lot at this event, including me.”

Leak Investigation near Children’s Home

Update at 6:32 a.m.: The leak has been isolated without affecting other customers. Barring failure of the valve to this line, it should be possible to proceed with repairs without an outage in the area.


Elkins Water Board employees are responding to a leak in the vicinity of the West Virginia Children’s Home, on Maryland Avenue.

Starting approximately 7 a.m., water customers in the area will experience low or no water pressure. Affected streets may include Pleasant Avenue, Maple Street, Maryland Avenue, Heavner Avenue, and others nearby. The precise outage area will not be known until it can be determined which line the leak is on.

Water Plant Hosts Filtration Training

The Elkins Water Treatment Plant recently hosted a training session on membrane water filtration. The session, which was organized by the West Virginia Rural Water Association (WVRWA), was attended by water treatment operators from several counties as well as engineers from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. Elkins Chief Water Operator Wes Lambert and the rest of the water operators who staff the city’s plant helped provide hands-on training.

The city’s water treatment plant, which was put into service in 2017 after a $37 million construction project, uses membrane water filtration, as opposed to sand or media filtration. WVRWA convened its training session in Elkins for access to both one of the newest membrane-filtration systems in West Virginia and the knowledge and skills that Lambert and his staff have acquired while operating it.

“Wes and his team have always been open to share information about the membrane filtration technology that the Elkins Water Treatment Plant uses,” said Heather Somers, the WVRWA training specialist who facilitated the training session. “This hands-on training class was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate exactly how that technology works.”

Somers called the training a success and said she looks forward to future opportunities to host training at the Elkins plant.

“West Virginia Rural Water is thankful for the opportunity to facilitate this education opportunity in Elkins,” said Somers. “We’re always looking for ways to train the various professionals dedicated to providing safe drinking water in our state.  We hope to continue collaborative training efforts like this in the future.”



Illegally Dumped Diesel Fuel Found in Tygart River

Water operators contained a small amount of diesel fuel dumped by an unknown person

On Friday, city, county, and state officials responded to a report of an oily sheen in the Tygart River, near Fifteenth Street.

Elkins Water Board employees determined that the sheen was caused by a small amount of diesel fuel in the river. Water operators immediately took action to contain and neutralize the spill, then investigated for the source of the problem.

No ongoing source of contamination was found, and the facts of the situation are consistent with an unknown person having illegally dumped a limited amount of fuel into a nearby storm drain. The substance in question did not enter the city’s treatment system, and the city’s drinking water was unaffected.

Chief Water Operator Wes Lambert reminds the public that it is illegal to dispose of any substances down storm drains, and additional penalties apply for disposing of petroleum products this way. This is because most of the city’s storm drains empty directly into the river, with no treatment; whatever is poured down one of these drains will go directly into the water.

“The Tygart River is our drinking source water,” says Lambert. “We all must do everything we can to protect that water. That means not dumping anything at all down storm drains, and especially not hazardous waste like petroleum products. Dumping into the stormwater system or the river directly can also harm wildlife and cause problems with drains.”

According to the Randolph County Solid Waste Authority, petroleum products may be disposed of at either Advance Auto Parts or Auto Zone. Other auto-supply stores and service stations may also accept petroleum products for disposal.

Lambert urges the public to report any illegal dumping, signs of contamination (e.g., an oily sheen), or suspicious activity in and around city infrastructure facilities.

“If you see anything that concerns you about our water supply, the best thing to do is call 911,” says Lambert. “When it comes to our drinking water, I would rather be safe than sorry, and calling 911 is the best way to ensure the fastest possible response.”


Last modified on April 28th, 2022 at 03:38 pm

Council will soon fill a vacancy on the Elkins Water Board. City residents who wish to be considered for appointment to this important volunteer position are encouraged to submit an application to the city clerk no later than April 29. Update: The application period has been extended to Friday, May 13.

What the Board Does

The Elkins Water Board is responsible for the the management, control, and operation of the Elkins Public Waterworks System. The water board collaborates with city council in establishing rates and planning and securing funds for capital projects. Council is ultimately responsible for setting rates, issuing bonds, and similar matters.


There are five seats on the board, one of which must be filled by the mayor (or the mayor’s designee). At least three members must be Elkins residents, and all must be West Virginia residents. Water board members are appointed by the Elkins council to four-year terms; membership is unpaid.

As the current vacancy arose from a resignation, the successful applicant will be appointed for an unexpired term ending March 31, 2023. Again, this applicant must be a city resident.

Meeting Times

The regular meetings of the Elkins Water Board are on fourth Tuesdays at 4 p.m. in the council chamber at Elkins City Hall. The board may also hold special meetings with two days’ notice when needed.

More Information

Visit the Elkins Water Board homepage for more information.

To Apply

Apply by downloading and completing this PDF application form. The form may be submitted to the city clerk’s office by email, mail, or hand delivery. Please ensure your application arrives no later than April 29. Update: The application period has been extended to Friday, May 13.

New Equipment to Maintain Water Valves

To repair a broken water main, it’s often necessary to turn off the water going to that pipe. But what if the valve is stuck or broken? One reason that some water outages are so widespread is because we have fewer working valves than ideal, so we aren’t always able to isolate small areas.
To better maintain and protect our current water valves the Elkins Water Board recently took delivery of the valve maintenance trailer shown in these pictures. This trailer’s central feature is a valve exerciser, a device that repeatedly turns a valve on and off to prevent the valve from becoming so stiff that it cannot function properly.
The valve exerciser does this by cycling through different levels of torque to break stuck valves open. This one starts out at a rate of 150 ft/lb. and can go all the way up to 750 ft/lbs. As the exerciser operates the valve, it counts the turns and measures the torque to avoid breaking the valve. It also has a vacuum system to clean dirt and debris out of valves. Finally, the trailer also has a GPS system to store valve locations and add notes for future reference.
Elkins council authorized use of $88,000 of ARPA funds to purchase the trailer.
Not cheap–but consider that the Elkins water system has about 500 valves with a replacement cost of $12-15,000 each. This exerciser will pay for itself if it keeps us from needing to replace even a half dozen.

Elkins Launches Water Problem Reporter

The City of Elkins has launched an online tool that people can use to report problems related to the city’s water system. The COE Water Problem Reporter may be accessed on computers, tablet, and smartphones.

The main purpose of the COE Water Problem Reporter is to make it easier for people to report water problems, but it will also help Elkins Water Board employees track and analyze possible causes of reported problems.

“The idea for this app came out of conversations we were having about how to tackle some of the trickier issues we sometimes face with the water system, like odors, tastes, or discoloration,” says Wes Lambert, the chief operator of the Elkins water system. “These aren’t very common but they are obviously extremely frustrating to the customers experiencing them, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to get to the bottom of these. One thing we’re really excited about is the ability to view problem reports on a map, because we think that could really help us get to the root causes.”

The online app provides both a map interface and text-entry fields. Once a report is submitted, email notifications are automatically sent to both water board and city personnel. As each issue is investigated and resolved, its status can be updated in the app.

“Someone who wants to submit a report can either type in the address or drop a point on the map,” says Ben Martin, the city’s GIS technician and the person who built the app using ArcGIS software. “Anyone can then use the map to see what’s been reported and what the status of each report is.”

The Elkins Water Treatment Plant provides clean drinking water to about 4,000 customer locations inside city limits as well as to the customers of its resale distributors, the Midland and Leadsville Public Service Districts. All water-treatment and water-distribution operations are performed in strict compliance with regulations imposed by the West Virginia DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To further safeguard city water customers, water board employees also perform spot-testing at various locations around the city on a regular basis.

Find the COE Water Problem Reporter here: www.bit.ly/Water-Problem-Reporter.

Changes to Organizational Structure

Last modified on February 17th, 2022 at 07:13 am

As a result of recent actions by council, the city’s water and sanitary boards are now providing administrative oversight of the city’s water and sewer system operations. See below for more information about this new organizational structure:

  • Water Board: Oversees the city’s water treatment and distribution system. Click here for more information.
  • Sanitary Board: Oversees the city’s wastewater collection and treatment system. Click here for more information.
  • Operations Department: Oversees trash collection, street repair, code enforcement, building permits and inspections, and maintenance and upkeep of city hall and other non-water/non-sewer buildings, facilities, and grounds. Click here for more information.

The city is also actively accepting applications for a new operations manager. Learn more and apply on this page.

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