Around the State: Nearly 25 percent of state water supply lost in 2012

CHARLESTON — State regulatory filings show nearly 25 percent of the water leaving West Virginia’s water plants disappeared even before it reached faucets last year.

About 17 billion gallons went unaccounted for in 2012, vanishing somewhere in a system of overflowing tanks and a maze of leaky pipes and gaskets.

Media outlets report that nearly 65 percent of water utilities in the state are not compliant with the state Public Service Commission’s standards for acceptable amounts of water loss.

The state’s largest water utility West Virginia American Water’s rate of unaccounted-for water was 28 percent in fiscal 2012.

While the lost water is certainly costing West Virginians money, water utilities must weigh the cost of the lost water with the cost of making repairs to aging water systems.

 

CHARLESTON

PSC cuts 2 utilities’ fuel cost recovery: Customers of two West Virginia power companies are getting a break on their monthly bills.

The Public Service Commission said Friday that it has reduced the amount Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling Power Company can recover for fuel costs, construction costs and specified environmental compliance by more than $50 million. The order means a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will pay about $3 per month less.

The reduction does not affect the two American Electric Power Company subsidiaries’ profit or rate of return on investment.

APCO and Wheeling Power serve about 478,500 customers in 23 West Virginia counties.

 

Manchin suspends events for Syria briefings: Sen. Joe Manchin is suspending his West Virginia events for the upcoming week to return to Washington to attend briefings on the situation in Syria.

President Barack Obama announced Saturday that he will seek congressional approval for military action intended to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds.

Manchin said Sunday that he was suspending events in West Virginia that had been scheduled from Tuesday through Friday.

In a statement, Manchin said the decision to authorize the use of U.S. military force and weapons is one of the most difficult that a country can make.

He said he’ll attend briefings with the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees and others to ensure he has all the information available before the Senate begins debate.

 

Man gets 30 years for cold case slaying: A federal inmate has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the slaying of a woman in West Virginia 14 years ago.

Media reports say 46-year-old Daniel Turner was sentenced Thursday in Charleston for the killing of Terry Clark. He had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

During the sentencing hearing, Turner apologized to Clark’s family.

Kanawha County prosecutors have said Turner strangled 41-year-old Clark of Charleston with a shoelace and dumped her body in Roane County. Clark’s nude body was discovered beside U.S. 119 near Walton on May 27, 1999.

DNA evidence linked Turner to the killing.

He is serving a sentence for drug and gun charges at a federal prison in Memphis, Tenn.

 

WELCH

McDowell men convicted in copper thefts: Three McDowell County men have been convicted in connection with copper thefts that left hundreds of residents without telephone service.

Media outlets report that 23-year-old Buddy Blankenship was convicted Friday of conspiracy and damage to a public utility. Twenty-six-year-old Haskell Blankenship and 30-year-old Ricky Johnson Jr. were convicted of conspiracy in the theft of copper wire from telephone lines. No date has been set for sentencing.

McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish said the charges stemmed from the June 2012 theft of copper from telephone lines in Panther. He said up to 250 people were without phone service for more than a day. Kornish said phone outages caused by copper thefts can be life-threatening in areas like western McDowell County, where cell phone service is lacking.

— Compiled with information

from the Associated Press

 

SOUTH CHARLESTON

Small game hunting begins: Small game hunting is set to begin this month in West Virginia, kicking off with the one-day youth squirrel season on Sept. 7.

The state Division of Natural Resources says the popular squirrel season will then open statewide a week later on Sept. 14.

Looking to later in the fall, the state will open the ruffed grouse and raccoon seasons on Oct. 12.

Opening day of cottontail rabbit season is set for Nov. 2. Officials say that with the unusually wet summer, rabbit populations are expected to be higher with the increase of food and cover.

Snowshoe hare, bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, bobcat, red fox, and gray fox hunting seasons also open Nov. 2.

Hunters are encouraged to visit wvdnr.gov for more information on season dates and bag limits.

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