CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Public Service Commission of West Virginia announced today, November 3, that an investigation has been opened into Paden City and its history of water contamination problems.

On a motion from legal staff on Oct. 4, the PSC agreed to consider whether the City of Paden City and the Paden City Municipal Water Works are distressed or failing utilities.

The commission’s legal staff asserted it has discovered through investigation that the residents of Paden City for many years have dealt with water contaminated by a chemical commonly used in dry cleaning called Tetrachloroethylene or PCE.

“The assertions put forth by staff justify further examination of the utilities’ ongoing contaminant issue, particularly with regard to whether the utilities are capable of ensuring the effective treatment of the contaminant and whether additional issues exist regarding the fiscal, managerial, and operational conditions of the utilities,” the PSC order said.

“Ensuring that state residents have access to clean water is one of the essential duties of the Public Service Commission, which is why we take these cases so seriously,” PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane said. “This warrants our investigation to determine the facts.”

At the Commission’s urging, the Legislature in 2020 passed the Distressed the Failing Utilities Improvement Act, which gives the Commission wide latitude in dealing with water and sewer utilities that are not meeting their obligations.

The City of Paden City is a municipal utility that provides sewer service to 1,161 customers. The Paden City Municipal Water Works provides water utility service to 1,204 customers in Wetzel and Tyler counties.

More information on this case can be found on the PSC website: Click on “Case Information” and access Case No. 23-0796-PSWD-DU.

(Video in the story shows the top stories for Friday, November 3, 2023)