PADEN CITY, W.Va. — After years of dealing with a toxic chemical in the water, Paden City residents are breathing a sigh of relief.
The water is safe to drink, and federal funding played a big role in getting it to that point.
Tuesday, West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito had a chance to see what all has been done.
“We have all of the technology in the world,” she said. “We should make sure that our children and grandchildren are drinking water that's chemical free and very safe.”
That hadn't been the case in Paden City for a while.
In 2014, a water test showed a toxic chemical in the town's water. And for the last seven years, city officials have been trying to get that fixed.
Since then, it's been a fight to clean the water and build a new filtration system.
A new air stripper plant was installed and officially has been up and running since last May.
“Still got a long way to go, there's a lot of things that need to be addressed and fixed, Public Works Director Aaron Billiter said. “But as of right now, the water is safe to drink. That's the biggest key right now.”
That project cost more than $550,000.
But the city hasn't been alone in securing funds for clean drinking water.
Capito has helped secure more than $10 million in federal funding to address water and wastewater issues.
Tuesday, she got a chance to see what that money is going toward.
“I think this is really important and federal dollars, a lot of the time, are the only way that communities can get these projects off the ground,” she said. “So, I commend the folks here in Paden City for being great advocates.”
It's been a stressful seven years for Paden City officials, but having the backing of people in Washington, D.C. has meant the world.
“At times, when you're in a small town like this, you feel like nobody even knows you're there, or what your problems are,” Billiter said. “But when they reached out to us and told us they were behind us and they were working on this and making contact with us, it really felt like we had some backing here.”