RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Raleigh County Emergency Management Services Director John Zilinski said county first responders and the private Beckley Water Company are cooperating as water crews restore service throughout the county.

On Monday morning, January 2, he said things looked hopeful, with water restored in Cool Ridge, with Josephine and Odd expected to have water by Tuesday morning.

Leaks in Beckley Water Company lines and customer lines at Midway meant there was no water for the Slab Fork area on Monday. American Water crews assisted Beckley Water Company in making repairs at Midway, according to Zilinski.

Zilinski said Raleigh County Public Service District, the county’s non-profit PSD, would begin pumping water to its communities in Slab Fork once the Midway leaks were repaired. The county PSD buys water from Beckley Water Company.

Since taking office in 2010, Raleigh County Commission President Dave Tolliver has expanded public water service from around 90 to 98 percent of the county and is pushing to serve 100 percent of residents. But water outages on Labor Day and Christmas raised questions about the age of infrastructure in the region—some of it owned by the private Beckley Water Company.

Zilinksi and Beckley Treasurer Billie Trump said while the city and county depend on Beckley Water Company’s infrastructure for residents to have service, the entities do not have records that show the age or condition of the infrastructure.

“What they’ve done as far as repairs and infrastructure upgrades and stuff, that would probably be a question for the water company,” Zilinski said Monday morning when asked about the age of the county’s water delivery system.

Zilinski said Raleigh County PSD has made upgrades for water delivery in the past.

“I know there’s been a lot of upgrades with Raleigh County PSD, taking over some dilapidated water systems, and then they have to come in and make repairs to those just to try to keep the infrastructures up and running,” he noted.

Zilinski reported Raleigh County Commission has plans to build a new tank and add new infrastructure for Raleigh PSD as soon as federal funding is secured.  Raleigh PSD will draw water from Maple Meadow Mine. Zilinski said the county will then have an independent water source which could even be recirculated to Beckley Water’s system, in times of crisis.

“Where do we go from here? How do we prevent this from happening again?” Zilinski asked. “And I think the county commission is working on that in the Glen Daniel, Trap Hill area, of going into the Maple Meadow mines.”