PHILADELPHIA, PA, Oct. 21, 2009 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has awarded a $955,600 grant to the City of Beckley, W. Va. to replace a failing wastewater main.
EPA awarded the grant to improve water quality in Piney and Little Whitestick Creek, and eliminate a potential public health hazard.
The city will use the grant to replace of 7,000 feet of wastewater main with new lined high density polyethylene pipe. The main conveys more than 1.5 million gallons of wastewater to the city's wastewater treatment plant daily. The wastewater main is being installed adjacent to Greenwood Memorial Park east of U.S. Route 19, between U.S. Route 19 and the Piney Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Originally constructed in the late 1960's, many sections of the wastewater main failed more than a dozen times in 2008, discharging large quantities of raw sewage into the Piney and Little Whitestick Creeks. Replacing this section of the pipe will eliminate future sewage discharges.
Untreated sewage contains viruses and protozoa as well as other parasites. People coming in contact with these organisms can suffer adverse health effects ranging from minor ailments such as sore throats, stomach cramps and diarrhea, to life-threatening illnesses such as cholera, dysentery, infectious hepatitis and severe gastroenteritis. Children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women are more at risk of illness.
The EPA grant will help pay for the estimated $1.8 million project cost with the balance being financed by loans through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's State Revolving Fund loan program. The projected completion date for the project is January 2010.