Introduction and Nomination
Harrison County Chamber of Commerce
2005 Community Improvement Award
By Richard D. Welch
The Clarksburg Water Board is a municipally owned utility that provides water service to retail and wholesale customers in Harrison County. It is recognized as a leader in the West Virginia water treatment industry. Water is an integral part of every environmental issue and a basic need for public welfare and prosperity.
The original three-member Clarksburg Water Commission was established on October 7, 1887. The Clarksburg Water Board was created by a special act of the legislature on January 28, 1909 and charged with the duty and responsibility of providing an ample supply of pure and wholesome water.
I have been affiliated with the Clarksburg Water Board since 1975 and have served the citizens of Clarksburg as the Water Board President for over 10 years and the General Manager for 5 years. I am so proud of the strides made by the Clarksburg Water Board through the years and think that this public service organization is exceeding expectations in the area of water safety and community outreach making it a rarity in the water treatment industry.
Therefore, I am nominating the Clarksburg Water Board as a worthy candidate to receive the 2005 Community Improvement Award, for its innovative programs designed to reinforce the utility's vision and commitment to its customers and its ongoing effort to promote safe drinking water in the community.
Examples of the Clarksburg Water Board's successes include:
- Community Service Award - Established to recognize employees who volunteer. Volunteerism is the hallmark of good citizenship and communities grow stronger with the support of an active citizenry.
- National Customer Service Week - Celebrated to recognize the dedicated employees of the Clarksburg Water Board and to thank Clarksburg residents for their support and patronage.
- Free Water Give-Away - The promotion is offered as part of the celebration of National Customer Service Week. The winner is randomly selected by computer, with every Clarksburg residential customer having an equal opportunity to win. The winner receives one month of free water at their residence.
- National Drinking Water Week - Celebrated to recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives. Drinking Water Week is an educational campaign aimed at helping people understand what it takes to ensure safe drinking water.
- Water Watchers - A community watch group organized by the Clarksburg Water Board to protect our water resources and community. Membership supports Homeland Security by protecting our critical water resources from potential terrorist/criminal related tampering.
- Partnership for Safe Water - As a voluntary member, the Clarksburg Water Board is a partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The partnership demonstrates that the Clarksburg Water Board is committed to achieving goals with minimal regulation or in advance of regulation and to provide safe, high quality drinking water to the public. The Clarksburg Water Board is one of only 250 water utilities in the United States participating in the Partnership.
The uniqueness of these programs to the state and to utility companies in general is supported by these responses:
Mr. Geert Bakker, Chief Utilities Manager, Public Service Commission of WV, "I really appreciate your updates, because this is one way where we can determine trends or discover innovative ideas. There just are not many utilities (like the Clarksburg Water Board) that go out of their way; some say regulation stifles creativity."
Mr. Craig R. Cobb, PE, Supervising District Engineer, Environmental Engineering Division, Office of Environmental Health Services, "As usual the Clarksburg Water Board is on the leading edge of the public water supply industry in West Virginia."
In addition, the Clarksburg Water Board has been aggressive in making improvements to its distribution system, with emphasis placed on the downtown business area and its treatment facilities.
Over 5 million dollars in recent examples are:
- The 1 million gallon Chestnut Street water storage tank, constructed in 1910, with numerous structural deficiencies,
was replaced with a new 2 million gallon (*award winning) water tank constructed on Second Street in Clarksburg. It was foresighted that the Clarksburg Water Board planned for additional growth, especially in the northern part of Harrison County. This planning proved to be crucial in the development of the northern part of Harrison County with the recent development of Charles Pointe and plans to build a new hospital in that area. (* 2001 WVACE "Engineering
Excellence Award" and 2002 WV Division of Environmental Protection "Developer of the Year Award")
Total cost - $2,035,968
- Replaced 16 water valves in the downtown area.
Total cost - $317,000
- Replaced 1,000 feet of waterline; 18 valves and added 3 new fire hydrants on Main Street from Chestnut Street to Fourth Street.
Total cost - $323,000
- Waterline extension to service the new Veterans Nursing Home at the Louis A. Johnson VA Hospital.
Total cost - $143,385
- Replaced 620 feet of waterline on Baltimore Avenue from 7th Street to College Street.
Total cost - $16,070
- Extended 200 feet of waterline on N. 7th Street to Baltimore Avenue.
Total cost - $9,509
- Replaced 800 feet of waterline on Clark Street from N. 4th to N. 6th Street
Total cost - $193,660
- Replaced 1,700 feet of waterline on Pike Street from 2nd Street to 6th Street.
Total cost - $577,575
- Replaced 240 feet of waterline on 16th Street between Barnes and Goff Avenue.
Total cost - $18,329
- Replaced 460 feet of waterline on Froe Street - Liberty Addition.
Total cost - $5,827
- Replaced 300 feet of waterline on Clifton and Preston Street.
Total cost - $15,85
- Treatment Plant - Sludge Handling Project
Total cost - $1,473,000
- Treatment Plant - Engineering study to upgrade emergency power facilities to enable the Clarksburg Water Board to
supply all its customers with water in the event of an extended electrical emergency.
Total cost - $14,660
- Evaluation of Public Safety Improvements for Hartland Dam, Two Lick Dam, Highland Dam, and West Milford Dam on the West Fork River. On February 27, 2000, three people in a canoe drowned after approaching the downstream side of Highland Dam and being caught in the hydraulic backwash. As a result of this tragic incident the Clarksburg Water Board authorized an engineering study to evaluate public safety improvements at all four of their low-head dams located on the West Fork River.
Total cost - First Phase estimated $255,000
The Clarksburg Water Board has been commended by the state for the progress made in implementing a Cross-Connection and Backflow Prevention Program and for taking the historic step of being the first water utility to implement the program under new state regulations. "As a follow-up to your action of March 23, 2004 - congratulations on taking an historic step. I realize that there is a lot of work ahead" said Craig Cobb, Supervising District Engineer, Philippi District Office, Environmental Engineering Division, Office of Environmental Health Services.
Although the services provided by the Clarksburg Water Board often may go unnoticed, all of us realize the absolute necessity of an adequate water supply being available to invite development to Harrison County. This was evidenced by statements from Harrison 2000 and the Fingerprint Division of the F.B.I., that "had it not been for the large capacity of the Clarksburg Water Board's new water treatment plant and
it's ability to serve the F.B.I. in North Central West Virginia, the relocation of the Division to Harrison County may not have been possible."
As Henry Ford said, "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." I am confident that our 100 years of providing quality services at very reasonable costs to our customers along with the community outreach programs we have implemented have given us a steadfast reputation with the citizens of Clarksburg.
The Clarksburg Water Board's commitment to service and open relationship with the community more than justifies this nomination for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce 2005 Community Improvement Award.
Your consideration of my nomination is greatly appreciated.
Richard D. Welch
Richard D. Welch