Cows cause water concern in Upshur County

ADRIAN — Adrian Public Service District customers who recently received notice that the agency had violated state drinking water standards can blame it on the cows.

That’s what Adrian PSD manager Nina Monroe said Thursday, explaining that area cattle had wandered into the site surrounding the French Creek water tank, causing the state Bureau for Public Health’s Office of Environmental Services in Fairmont to issue a violation during an on-site visit in August 2016.

Despite the violation, Monroe wanted to assure the Adrian PSD’s approximately 2,100 customers that the water pumped through the PSD is safe to drink. As a result of the violation — and the Adrian PSD’s failure to correct it within 120 days — the agency was required to issue a notice on Oct. 31 informing customers that it had failed “to complete corrective actions” after the state’s BPH-OES office discovered “significant deficiencies” in the system during the August 2016 inspection.

The “deficiency” discovered was that insufficient fencing had resulted in cattle roaming into the site surrounding the French Creek water tank. The matter came to the county’s attention when the Upshur County Commission reviewed the notice at its weekly meeting Thursday morning.

According to the notice, the Adrian PSD is in the process of constructing a second tank at the French Creek site and upgrading the existing one. As a result of the ongoing construction, cattle had gained “access to the tank site” and caused “significant degradation” to it. Monroe said Thursday there were merely issues with the tank site, not with the safety of the water itself.

“The water was never not safe to drink,” Monroe told The Record Delta. “I don’t know if you know cattle, but they got in and rubbed against the board, it’s computerized, where my tanks talk to the pump station. It (the computer) hadn’t stopped working, but the board was loose because of the cattle rubbing against it. There was never any violation of having safe water to drink; it was site degradation entirely.”

The fencing issue — and hence the safety violation — have since been corrected, Monroe said, noting that temporary fencing has been installed around the tank while construction on the second tank occurs.

“Temporary fencing, to keep the cattle away from the site, is in place and will remain until permanent fencing is installed at the completion of the construction and renovation project,” the Oct. 31 notice reads. “The temporary fencing has effectively met the objective of keeping the cattle away from the site.”

Monroe said the BPH’s OES office conducts on-site visits every three years. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Monroe at the PSD by calling 304-924-6107.

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