At the July 3 Marlinton Town Council meeting, the newly elected council hit the ground running agreeing to apply for a critical needs grant to replace several fire hydrants in town.
The discussion began at the June meeting when Marlinton fire chief Herby Barlow asked council what its plans were with regard to replacing and maintaining the town’s hydrants, many of which are in disrepair.
It was fortunate that Clay Riley and Fred Hipes, of The Thrasher Group, were also at the meeting because they both said it is possible for a municipality to apply for a grant that will fund hydrant replacement, as well as hydrant flow testing, which has not been done for several years.
Riley and Hipes were again in attendance at the July meeting to give an update on the water and sewer system project and the hydrant grant.
To inform the new council, Hipes gave a brief history of the water project and a history of the town’s water works.
The original town water works was placed into operation in 1920 and some of that system is still in the ground in town. In 2013, the town undertook replacement of the water treatment plant which went online in 2020.
Now, the town is in the process of separating the stormwater and sewer systems and putting in new lines.
As for the fire hydrants, Riley explained that one of the issues many municipalities face is that original lines were four inch cast iron pipes, which have been determined to be too small to serve fire hydrants.
“About thirty years ago, it was basically determined that that size was not large enough, so that everything from now on goes to six inch or larger, however, if you had an existing fire hydrant and cast iron pipe, it was grandfathered in. So when you went through and did the first project, they found some areas that really need upgrades because they just weren’t giving the flow for protection.”
After a discussion with Barlow, Riley said they identified 10 fire hydrants that need to be replaced. The critical needs grant, if awarded, will cover the cost of those hydrants, as well as a flow testing for all the hydrants in town.
The grant will cover 100 percent of the cost and the town will not have to come up with a match.
Riley said that if/when the grant is approved, the project will begin immediately and Thrasher will prepare the plans and bid for construction of the project.
Council approved the engineering agreement, administrative agreement, legal agreement and critical needs project application for the fire hydrant project.
In other action, council approved:
• gathering information on consulting firms to help with the lead service line replacement inventory.
• elected official salaries.
• budget revision for 2023-2024.
• advertising the auction sale of property on U.S. 219, with a minimum bid of $2,500.
• advertising auction sale of used vehicles and out of service equipment.
• pursue purchase of used vehicles.