Apr 30, 2020

West Virginia City Water Quality Board Operating Under COVID-19

Employees of the Huntington Water Quality Board are operating under emergency circumstances amid the COVID-19 epidemic

water quality

Employees of the Huntington Water Quality Board are operating under emergency circumstances as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues.

This includes sanitizing vehicles and limiting contact with sewer lines, according to Executive Director Brian Bracey.

The pandemic has altered daily operations at the Sanitary Board in an effort to limit public contact, but employees continue to respond to emergencies, reported the Herald Dispatch.

Sewer line workers are repairing line blockages and collapsed lines rather than engaging in preventative maintenance, such as sewer line cleanings. The aim is to avoid exposure to untreated sewage and possible coronavirus exposure, said Wes Leek, director of the Huntington Sanitary Board.

There has been an increase in needed repairs because more people are in their homes amid the pandemic.

“We have addressed a lot more blockages in lines and collapses due to more flow,” said Leek. “As those are coming in, we are addressing them as needed.”

Employees are driving vehicles separately to avoid contact with one another and vehicles that have to be shared are sanitized before another employee takes over, according to the Herald Dispatch. If employees must work together, they must also wear masks, gloves and other protective equipment.

Street sweeping is being scaled back because people are inside their homes and cannot move their vehicles from the street as normally required.

Work is expected to begin May 15 on a project aimed at alleviating flooding at the 8th and 10th street underpasses. This project is estimated to cost $1.1 million and is one of several improvement projects planned for 2020. 

The city has also awarded a $1.9 million contract to Tribute Contracting & Consultants to build pump stations near 8th and 10th streets. They will pump storm water away from the wastewater system and into storm water lines on the city’s South Side, as these lines are still under capacity.

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