BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Raleigh County Commission agreed during the regular meeting on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, to spend over $430,000 on a telemetry system – a new way to monitor water levels in the county’s water tanks.

Commissioners explain it uses satellite and digital monitoring to measure water levels instead of making customers call to report outages.

“Currently, the first time the PSD finds out someone’s out of water is when the customer calls,” said Raleigh County Commissioner Greg Duckworth. “This system will allow that notification to come through satellite through the system that’s attached to the tanks.”

Raleigh County Commission President David Tolliver explained the process.

“They’ll have a big screen, that shows all 16 water tanks, and they’ll be hooked up to the satellite with the telemetry, and if this one tank has a problem and starts to go down low, they can tell you right within minutes,” said Tolliver on Monday, November 6, 2023.

Earlier this year, cold weather led to frozen pipes and line breaks which left thousands of Raleigh County PSD customers and those of the private Beckley Water Company without water for up to two weeks. Raleigh County officials launched an investigation and concluded that better communication, like the kind the telemetry system provides, could have stopped the crisis in its tracks.

Beckley Water Company officials, speaking to 59News for the first time on the water crisis, issued a statement on Tuesday.

“Having telemetry in place will allow Raleigh County PSD the ability to know how their tank levels, pump stations, and other infrastructure are performing, giving more transparency, increased communication, and better response time throughout their system,” stated Beckley Water Company Public Relations Coordinator Alexis Foster. “This will allow all entities to work together and better serve Raleigh County.”