City officials in Moundsville (Marshall County), WV had a scare recently, and with good cause.
Moundsville officials suspected a major water line leak when the city’s reservoir dropped more than 10 feet over a few days last month.
Instead, City Manager Allen Hendershot discovered that two public service districts had sold 9 million gallons to companies for natural gas drilling, but failed to tell city officials.
Hendershot told the Wheeling News-Register the move was legal. Once a public service district buys water from the city, it can sell the water to whomever it chooses. The city, he said, just wasn’t prepared to handle that much water use.
To get the reservoir back to normal levels, the Moundsville Water Department opened additional wells and streamlined the water-softening process at its facility, resulting in harder water for residents.
"The water was up to health standards and was perfectly fine,” he said. "It just wasn’t what we normally produce.”*
Drilling companies and those that sell them water need to be on the same page, and they need to be more careful lest more incidents like this one occur.
*The Charleston Gazette (Mar 21, 2011) – Reservoir’s big drop leaves Moundsville officials puzzled