MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. -- Water lines in Marshall County are being put at risk for bacteria contamination by crews installing pipelines for energy companies, said a public service district official.Natural gas pipeline crews are not following proper procedures when they dig around the Marshall County Public Service District 4's water lines. Water lines are being exposed to sunlight, which could potentially cause bacteria to grow in water running through the lines, said George Lagos, the PSD's general manager and chief operator.At least 10 projects are under way in the PSD's coverage area, and it does not have enough staff to monitor them, Lagos told The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register."The district is at wits end to come up with a solution to our situation out here. We just have myself and two other guys to try to cover 200 miles of water mains and other lines," he said. "We can't raise water rates on our customers to pay for more workers."
During a recent inspection of a Dominion project, Lagos found an active water line dangling above a new gas pipeline. The PSD requires water lines to be protected with sandbags, and a 3-foot distance between water lines and gas lines.Also, the PSD was not given a required 48-hour notice that the gas lines were going to cross the water lines."I want to see these people do this in an orderly fashion," Lagos said. "While we want a two-day notice of when they are going to cross our lines, we would even settle for a one-day notice. All these guys have my phone numbers, so all they have to do is call me when they are getting ready to do it."Dominion spokesman Charles Penn said the company is aware of the PSD's concerns and is now aware of its requirements. He said pipeline crews working for Dominion plan to meet with PSD officials to ensure that the company understands the PSD's procedures and expectations and complies with them.Lagos said pipeline crews working for other companies also have caused problems."There were four instances of one company boring under or exposing our lines in one day," he said. "Some of them just seem to do whatever, whenever."