MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) is preparing for their role as part of the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Fire Hydrant Maintenance and Testing Task Force and receiving updates on several major projects.

MUB General Manager Mike McNulty and engineer Cory Jones will join 13 individuals and groups, including the Commission Legal Staff, Engineering, and Consumer Advocate Divisions. The task force was created by order of the governor to investigate the maintenance practices for the estimated 50,000 fire hydrants in the state.

“MUB was specifically named to serve on that task force,” MUB General Manager Mike McNulty said. “Myself and Cory Jones will be the MUB representatives to the task force.”

The group will develop rules for inspection, testing, flushing, and flow testing of hydrants. The final report by the task force is due no later than June 30, 2024.

“We’ll be developing rules for testing, maintaining fire hydrants, and marking the hydrants for fire flow,” McNulty said.

Right-of-way acquisition continues to be an issue for the drainage improvements in the Popenoe Run area. Property easements are in hand for all but five or six of the 60 agreements needed to complete the work. McNulty said E.L. Robinson Engineering is the designated right-of-way agent and will continue tracking down property owners.

“The right-of-way agent is going to reach out to those five or six right now, so hopefully we’ll hear something back from them,” McNulty said. “As we get closer to bid, if we haven’t heard from them, we’ll have to make some decisions.”

The board also approved a contract for $291,000 with Parrotta Paving for the demolition of the former Dinsmore Tire and Bicycle Shop on Don Knotts Boulevard. Work could begin in about 30 days, about two years after MUB was awarded a $500,000 brownfield grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and completed all the required government surveys and documentation.

When completed, the site will be leveled and capped with 12 inches of stone. MUB could use the site in the future for the expansion of their treatment facility next door.

“Even the foundations are going to be removed,” Rogers said.”Foundations, slabs, and everything will be removed during this demolition.”

Work on the major renovation of the Cheat Lake Waste Water Treatment Plant is also progressing. McNulty told the board that efforts are underway to work with Mountaineer Gas to relocate one of their gas mains.

“We’re right at the 60-percent completion mark for design,” McNulty said. “All-Star Ecology has been hired to complete the wetland delineation that has been required by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.”

MUB has also sent a letter to the governor asking for funding for the watermain extension to Morgans Run. Previously, MUB authorized an application for a West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Council Critical Needs Grant and a loan of about $2 million. Commissioners in Monongalia County have approved $58,000 to pay the tap fees for the estimated 28 customers.

Design work is also ongoing on multiple pedestrian bridges planned for White Park and the Flegal Reservoir. Meetings are expected in the coming weeks between Morgantown officials and MUB on the bridges.

Morgantown city council representative to MUB Dave Harshbarger said the city asphalt overlay program will be smaller this year and the list of streets will be given to them before work begins.