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American Water finalizes takeover of Boone-Raleigh PSD water service

Customers who once relied on the Boone-Raleigh Public Service District for water service are now officially customers of West Virginia America Water, after the company’s acquisition of the PSD was finalized Thursday, according to a news release.

Boone-Raleigh PSD served about 470 water customers in Sylvester and Whitesville. Now, WVAW will serve those customers through an interconnection constructed between its existing lines in the area and the PSD’s lines.

WVAW will only provide water service to the PSD’s customers. Those who receive sewage service from the PSD will soon see a 16 percent increase (about $6 per 3,000 gallons of water) to their bill due to the decrease in revenue from losing its water customers, according to a filing with the state Public Service Commission.

Water customers will also see an increase in their bills as the water rates raise to meet WVAW’s rates — a $19.18, or 57.8 percent, increase.

Per the joint stipulation agreement between the PSD and WVAW, which was approved earlier this year by the PSC, WVAW will pay $115,000 to acquire the water system and its facilities.

Over the past few years, the PSC approached WVAW several times about the possibility of taking over water operations for Boone-Raleigh, especially as its service deteriorated. Earlier this year, John Lipford, chairman of the Boone-Raleigh PSD, said he was confident that this time, the deal would come to fruition, and he was right.

The hope, Lipford said, is that WVAW can provide safer, more reliable water service to those who depend on it.

Boone-Raleigh experiences an unaccounted water loss rate of 69 percent, according to its 2017 annual report filed to the PSC. That’s the fourth-highest rate of any water system in the state.

The Environmental Protection Agency classifies Boone-Raleigh as being in “significant noncompliance” for drinking water standards. The PSD has been cited for violations in 11 of the last 12 quarters on record with the EPA.

Now that the acquisition is complete, WVAW is the sole water provider in Boone County, according to testimony given by WVAW representatives to the PSC.

For the past few years, WVAW has been stepping in regularly to offer emergency help to Boone-Raleigh when lines break or water stops flowing, and now, that service will be permanent.

“Once the takeover is finished, the customers will have better water quality and it will be more consistent,” Lipford said earlier this year. “This is a good thing for everyone involved. It really is.”

Caity Coyne is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

Reach Caity Coyne at

caity.coyne@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-7939 or follow

@CaityCoyne on Twitter.

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