PIEDMONT - Greg Harvey, Piedmont's water commissioner, again voiced concerns dealing with the community's water supply during a recent council meeting.
By Jean Braithwaite
PIEDMONT - Greg Harvey, Piedmont’s water commissioner, again voiced concerns dealing with the community’s water supply during a recent council meeting.
He said that in speaking to Verso personnel, the date of July 18, 2020, was given as the time that “they will shut off the water.”
For many years, Piedmont had been receiving a raw water supply from Verso, and Harvey said that on the July date, “The mill will go black, completely black,” with no electric service.
“Will someone step in to make them leave it (water) on?” he asked, adding, “I can’t tell you that.”
Harvey did say that if someone does step in to assure water for Piedmont, he is certain that if that happens, “We will not like the price.”
In view of the shut-off date for a water supply, he said the community had to move forward, because as of July 18, “We have to have an alternate water supply.”
Harvey gave an option for this situation which would take securing permits and taking over ownership of the low water dam in the Potomac River, and, “That is a massive liability.”
He mentioned that problems could occur with the pump system when the Potomac River runs high.
Harvey did give the other Piedmont officials an additional possibility for a continued water supply with connecting with Westernport’s water line.
He said that for some time, Westernport would not consider supplying raw water to Piedmont, however, “several weeks ago an estimate for raw water came from the Westernport officials.”
Speaking about what could be a problem with this offer, Harvey said that Westernport wanted Piedmont to have the water hook-up on Route 135, across from a former gas station, “Where there is already a tap.”
“This would entail permits to go under Route 135 and the railroad tracks,” he said.
Realizing this option would not happen in 90 days, Harvey gave what he said was the intent of Piedmont in receiving a water supply.
He described an area on the mill property at the filter plant turn, where, “The Westernport line and the Piedmont line are 12 feet apart.”
With some modifications on this area for a water supply, Harvey said that he will continue to “pursue this option.”
He cited that Piedmont’s recent award of over $1.5 million from federal funding is designated only for the water connection from Westernport.
Harvey said that he had viewed the signed contract between Westernport and Luke dealing with a water supply, and, “I understand the same terms will be offered to Piedmont.”
He also said all three communities would have the same water rate cost, and suggested that in the near future, a meeting to work out future details with the water supply be scheduled and would involve the three community mayors, attorneys, and water commissioners.
Harvey said after this meeting a town hall gathering would be held in Piedmont for the local citizens to attend and understand the exact future costs of the water project.