An Appalachian Regional Commission Grant guarantees the Coal Mountain water extension project will now move forward, replacing the community's 1930s-era coal camp water system.

On Wednesday, the Wyoming County Commission was awarded a $1.85 million ARC Distressed Counties Grant. The project was recommended for the federal funding by Gov. Jim Justice earlier this year.

“This is a great step forward for this community,” emphasized Mike Goode, county administrator.

“This ARC grant means there is no question now that this project will go forward,” Goode explained.

Construction, however, will not begin soon. Environmental studies must be completed now that the funding has been awarded.

Then, right-of-way has to be obtained before the bidding process can begin, according to officials.

Extended from Campus, the project will provide potable water to 166 new customers, including seven commercial customers, in the Coal Mountain, Big Cub Branch, Upper Sturgeon Branch and Road Branch communities.

The plan includes construction of two water tanks, two pressure reducing stations, along with putting 52,700 feet of 8-inch water line in the ground.

With a per-customer-cost of $28,825, several funding sources were needed for the $4.8 million project, according to Eric Combs, Region I Planning and Development Council.

In June, Gov. Justice also presented the Commission with a $1.5 million federal Community Development Block Grant for the project, provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Additionally, the Commission has invested $70,000 in the current project for “soft costs,” such as engineering expenditures, among others.

The West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs and Development Council will also provide a $1.365 million loan, to be repaid over 30 years, to round out the needed funding, according to officials.

The project will be served by the Logan County PSD.

The new water system will address the iron, sulfur and manganese issues with the current system, improving the quality of the water, according to officials.

“This project has been a long time coming,” Goode noted. “We've applied and re-applied, then applied again.

“We've tried everything we know over the years to get water to the community. This project should have been built 40 years ago.”

“Every West Virginian deserves access to clean drinking water,” U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., said Wednesday.

“As we work to revitalize southern West Virginia, investment in critical services will bring more businesses, jobs, and opportunities to our communities.”

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