Preston County residents concerned over proposed water rate increase

"PRESTON COUNTY", W.Va (WDTV) -- The Preston County Public Service District number 4 has proposed an increase in rates for water service to 1,716 customers.

However, some residents feel that they should not have to pay an increased rate because they say the water doesn’t meet their standards.

"On a good day it smells like dirt, on a bad day it smells like wet dog," said Preston County resident, Zeb Lewis.

Lewis says the water quality in the area is definitely a concern for himself and multiple residents.

"Not only is the smell and taste of it not really acceptable, you also have some level of contaminants."

Lewis explained that this proposed rate increase isn't that far behind from their last one they received the previous year.

As a financial adviser, he says he understands that money can get tight.

"I get...cost go up, moneys a necessity, that's my job, I know moneys a necessity, I completely understand that."

But also says that when the water quality hasn't gotten any better since the last rate increase, people find it hard to believe anything will change.

"When you've already had one rate increase, you have to show people that they're getting something for their money...and to ask for another rate increase when the same situation still persist...its a hard sell," said Lewis.

Preston county resident, Amber Ervin did not want to go on camera, but says she has also had her fair share of the water's bad smell in her house.

"Went in and turned on my shower and it smells like a pond. When my 4-year-old can turn on the faucet to brush his teeth and say 'oh mom the water stinks'...its constant," said Ervin.

She also constantly fears for her children's sake.

"What am I exposing my kids to, you know when I put my kids in the bathtub every night I wonder, 'is he sitting in water that's safe', i don't think he is," said Ervin.

After calling and stopping by the Preston County PSD #4, WDTV was unable to obtain any information.

But as for Ervin and many others, they do not think raising the rates is a reasonable ask.

"Until something's done about the water quality, don't ask us for money," said Ervin.

The press release from the Public Service District states that anyone who desires to fight against the rate increase should file a written protest or notice of intervention before October 31st, unless changed by order of the Commissioner. Failure to do so before the 31st can affect an individual's rights to protest the rate increase.

All protests or requests to intervene should clearly and briefly state a reason.

Request to intervene must comply with the Commissioner's rule on intervention set forth in the Commissioner's Rules of Practice and Procedure.

All protests and interventions should be addressed to Executive Secretary, Public Service District of West Virginia, P.O Box 812, Charleston, West Virginia, 25323.

A copy of the proposed rates is available for public inspection at the office of the Executive Secretary of the PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION at 201 Brooks Street, Charleston, West Virginia.