West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD) was able to provide
drinking water to a Nicholas County community that faced a major water outage last month.
The Public Service District serving the communities of Nettie, Leivasy and Canvas had a perfect storm of events that led to a four-day water outage beginning Jan. 16.
“It was a combination of things,” said Nicholas County Commission President Ken Altizer.
With temperatures below zero at the time, a water line suffered two large breaks. At the same time, several of the PSD’s tanks went dry and needed to be refilled in order to flush tank filters,which had become clogged with muck and debris after earlier heavy rains, Altizer said.
“They needed to fill the tank before they could flush it and there wasn’t enough water to do that,” he said. “In the process nobody had drinking water.”
The Nicholas County Commission decided to purchase water and distribute it to the 1,400
households that were without water, but frigid weather and snow meant delivery trucks hadn’t made it to many local retailers and their bottled water supplies were low.
“The only place that had water was a mine supply place and we bought everything they had,” Altizer said. “It didn’t last long.”
That’s when WV VOAD stepped in, in coordination with county and state emergency services officials, and donated about 276 cases of bottled water to residents.
“It was gone in about three hours,” Altizer said. “It was very, very helpful, and we certainly appreciate it.”
The outage lasted about four days, and residents were under a boil-water advisory for another four days after service was restored, Altizer said.
WV VOAD got involved after being contacted by the state Emergency Operations Center about the water crisis. WV VOAD then worked with an area Lowe’s to get a discounted price on cases of bottled water and to coordinate delivery to affected residents.
“We are grateful for the ability to work with local agencies and area businesses to provide such vital services during a community’s time of need,” said Jenny Gannaway, WV VOAD’s executive director.
WV VOAD is a humanitarian association of independent organizations that may be active in all phases of disaster. Its mission is to identify unmet needs and facilitate efficient streamlined service delivery to those imperiled or impacted by disaster while eliminating duplication of effort through cooperation, coordination, communication, collaboration in the four phases of disaster: preparation, response, recovery and mitigation. West Virginia is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.