Paw Paw municipal water & sewer improvement projects move forward

by Kate Evans

The Town of Paw Paw just received a $1 million grant for improvements to its water system. The $1 million grant along with monies from the Drinking Water Treatment Revolving Fund provide $3.75 million for the project.

The West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council announced in a recent press release that $40 million in funding for water and sewer projects around the state had been approved at their June 5 meeting including the $1 million for Paw Paw.

John Cole, RK&K Engineering municipal engineering manager,  said that the Town of Paw Paw is looking to replace a lot of water mains and do water treatment improvements.  Cole is overseeing the project.

The town is looking at drilling a well near town hall and building a water plant, he said.  They want to change from taking Potomac River water and treating it to using groundwater and treating it.

Cole said that the water distribution system is leaking and a lot of the water plant equipment is aging and becoming obsolete.  There hasn’t been any major renovations done to the water plant since the 1980s.

They want to continue providing reliable water to the town, said Cole.

Cole said that the design for the water improvement project is done.  The plans and specifications have been submitted to the state for a permit and they’re waiting for a response and funding.

Cole said they’re hoping to have the first phase of the project underway by next year.  The next phase is more about distribution and clean water tanks.

Paw Paw Town Clerk Ron Davis said that the new well and new water plant location have not yet been determined.

Sewer project starts soon

Cole also said that work will begin on the sewer system project soon.  He has also overseeing the project’s progress since it began in 2020.

The project was bid in May and the Town of Paw Paw issued notice to proceed to the contractors on June 10. With materials and lead time, the actual construction won’t begin until sometime this month. There are two separate contracts, he noted.

One contract is for the wastewater treatment plant and pump station improvements, which was awarded to Ferri Contracting from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania for around $1.9 million, Cole said.

The company will be improving the air system in the sewage lagoon and will be changing out the barscreen at the pump station which collects debris and keeps it from getting in the lagoon, he said. They’ll also be dredging solids from the lagoon, rehabilitating a couple of buildings and installing different piping.

The other contract is for replacing sewer pipes in the collection system in certain areas of town, Cole said.  That contract was awarded to Carl Belt of Cumberland for $2.5 million.  The total cost of the sewer improvement project is $4.4 million. All of the funding is place for the project, Cole said.

It includes $2 million from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, a $1.85 million West Virginia Water Development Authority Economic Enhancement Grant, $25,000 from the Town of Paw Paw’s American Rescue Plan funding and the balance from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Both sewer project contracts should be completed by April 2025, Cole said.

Sewer line replacement area

Davis said previously that the southern end of town where the sewer pipe replacement work will take place is south of the railroad tracks toward Berkeley Springs and includes the school, the library and the fire hall.  The northern end of Paw Paw is from the railroad tracks to the Liberty Store.

No water and sewer rate increases are expected.  There was a water and sewer rate increase around 2020 when the sewer project was getting started,   Davis said.