WCSA received grant funding last fall that will make a big difference for Washington County residents who live in the Hidden Valley area. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $362,500 will provide clean water for approximately 66 residents who currently rely on private sources of water. The grant was presented by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Sept. 15, 2017, at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Center in Abingdon.
“We are extremely pleased to have been included in this most recent round of CDBG funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development,” says Robbie Cornett, general manager of WCSA. “We’ve been working since 2009 to supply the Hidden Valley community with a clean, dependable water source, and we expect to achieve that goal in 2019. Residents there have reported dwindling water supply during dry periods, and service lines to springs tend to freeze up during cold snaps, presenting reliability problems. Others report the presence of iron or bacteria in their water sources.
“Hidden Valley is located in a very high-altitude portion of Washington County, and the elevation changes make it extremely challenging to provide water to the community,” Cornett says. “Serving customers in higher elevations results in increased project costs due to the need for pumping equipment. This grant will enable WCSA to complete the necessary distribution system for bringing water to all of our Hidden Valley neighbors.”
The grant was part of $8.8 million provided for 15 Virginia projects; seven of those projects are in Southwest Virginia counties. Grant funding supports projects that improve health care access, water and sewer infrastructure, downtown revitalization, public safety, and housing rehabilitation. These grants ensure that Virginia communities have the necessary foundation in place for local residents and businesses to succeed as the state continues its efforts to bolster the economy.
“It has been a longtime goal of mine to see public water service provided to the Hidden Valley area,” says Ken Taylor, WCSA board commissioner. “As a member of the Hidden Valley community, I can personally speak to the fact that many of the folks who live there struggle with quality and quantity issues with their current private water sources. This project will greatly improve the quality of life for the residents of this part of Washington County.”
WCSA completed Phase 1 of the Hidden Valley Water System Extension Project in January 2016. This nine-month-long project extended water service along Porterfield Highway to the Hidden Valley Road intersection, and northward along Hidden Valley Road to an approximate elevation of 2,500 feet (near Chestnut Grove Community Church), providing public water service to approximately 30 Hidden Valley residents. Construction on Phase 2 of this project will begin summer of 2018. Upon completion, water will be supplied to homes located in the highest areas of Hidden Valley Road.