A year ago, it seemed as though Wood and his neighbors would finally have access to city water. The Putnam County Commission was trying to find funding for three of its water projects, including Trace Fork/Mud River.
Many of the remaining water projects in the county are on hold, though. According to county manager Brian Donat, there are a variety of factors barring the county from moving forward with its remaining water projects.
"We have a list of probably $15 million in water projects people would like to see finished," Donat said. "Funding is an issue, and becoming increasingly more of an issue, because federal grants are drying up, and there is only so much money to go around."
According to Donat, the Trace Fork/Mud River project does not meet criteria for any of the grants that might fund a project of its kind, and West Virginia American Water has been unable to pass a 21 percent rate increase in the state in recent years, which makes its rate of return on investments too low for it to consider expanding to certain areas right now.
"Over the years we've done the cheaper projects. We've had engineers rank the projects based on the people it serves, and that way, you're getting the most bang for your buck," he said.
The last projected cost for the project, which had been scaled back to 21 homes, was $766,051, or a cost of about $36,471 per person, Donat said. The Putnam County Commission is roughly $9 million in debt for its existing projects, he said.
"I'm hopeful we can get together with the water company and work out an agreement with them again to have more waterline projects completed in the county," Donat said. "It has to be a partnership between both entities, and other public agencies, to get these things done."
For Wood, a retired plumber and pipe-fitter, the chance to bring city water to Trace Fork will not only help him, but will help the neighbor who has gas contaminating his well, or another who must haul 2,000 gallons to his house to keep his water running.
"We are closer to getting city water, I feel," Wood said. "As far as getting it tomorrow? I'm not sure about getting it before I die. I'd like to see the community get water.
"I believe I could probably get water up to me with a 2-inch line and permission from the landowners, but what good does that do me when my sister has to haul every drop of water she uses, my neighbor has gas in his, his daughter has gas in hers, or my brother runs out of water?"
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.