Dozens of locals came out to the Webster Springs Municipal Building to speak out against a plan they say would remove local control over their water source.
It's an issue that's got the attention of much of the city; bringing people out to a hearing on the plan more than half an hour before it was due to begin. West Virginia American Water filed with the Public Service Commission to shut down the city's water plant, and pump water from its plant in Weston. This after building a pipeline to connect the two systems.
"The first concern is that we're going to get water 70 miles away, and we don't think the quality of water in the West Fork River is the quality of the water that's in the Elk right now, regardless of what anyone says. It may come out the same, but it's not the good quality going in," said Mayor Don McCourt.
West Virginia American Water says they'll only need to build 22 miles of pipeline to connect the two systems, with 16 more to add 300 new customers. It's not just an issue of water quality, either. McCourt said the employees of the facility have always been able to address any issues that may crop up there. West Virginia American Water said many jobs at the plant should remain, but worries still persist.
"Once they get away with this plant, then our local servicemen that work here and live here that come out and do a real quick assessment on a break or anything in an emergency at a house or whatever, they're afraid that they'll end up being gone,"
The hearing was originally set to be held in Charleston, until residents sent almost 500 letters speaking out against the proposal. And while the opportunity to make their opinions heard has now passed, the commission says people can still submit their views until the decision is made.
"Anybody that has concerns, if their opinion changes after whatever evidence is submitted, they can write to the commission again and express whatever new concerns or lack of concerns they have," said PSC Communications Director Susan Small.
Comments can be submitted until the decision is made; you can find the form online here. No decision on the proposal is expected until early January.