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City of Gary meets with state officials to create long term plan for their water crisis

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GARY, W.Va (WVVA)- The water is flowing, but there's not a drop to drink or even wash in. It's been more than a week since the water woes started in Gary and the problem gained the attention of leaders at the highest levels of government in West Virginia.

"We're going to work with them," Executive Director with the West Virginia Water Development Authority, Marie L. Prezioso said.

A pump was delivered on Tuesday after the old pump failed and is beyond repair. One engineer dispatched by the state speculates mineral-rich water is a factor in that failure.

"I think the iron level helped in deteriorating the pumps quicker than normal. Then having the back up pump out the one pump was running more than normal. I think a number of things contributed to the pump going out," Thompson & Litton, Incorporated Engineer, Stacy Fowler said.

The situation here impacts hundreds of people, including more than 80 patients in a nursing home. The state is stepping in to help develop long term solutions to the water crisis in this community. It boils down to money for additional pumps.

"Once they get the cost we're able to look at the funding that's available from different state agencies, and also some federal. We're able to look at all of it," Prezioso said.

The mayor hopes the dry days are behind them, even though they can't drink or wash in the running water right now, he's hopeful for a better future for his city.

"I think something good will come out of it. It's got too. A lot of the things they talked about we wasn't aware of and now we are aware of what's going on and how to get funding. Hopefully we can get started on that and get our pumps in to help our city flow again," Mayor of Gary, Larry Hairston said.

Residents will still have to use bottled water until their water boil advisory ends in 7 days.

Experts say it will take at least 6 months to a year to come up with a long term water plan. But now the process of paperwork begins for available funding to find a long term fix . The city now must apply to state and regional agencies for the money they need to upgrade the water system in this community.

Star Connor

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