Developments came thick and fast in the Williamstown water controversy Wednesday morning when officials of the West Virginia Public Service Commission and citizens of Williamstown entered into a dispute.
While an order of the service commission directing the Williamstown Water, Light and Power Company to forthwith furnish its patrons in Williamstown and vicinity with an adequate supply of pure and wholesome water, citizens of the town across the river were circulating a petition designed to boycott Marietta merchants because of the attitude of Marietta city officials in rejecting an offer of the Williamstown council to settle the controversy. At noon 1100 signers had affixed their signatures to the petition, it was reported, and a canvass of the entire town was in progress.
The order of the service commission directing the Williamstown Water Company to immediately supply an adequate water supply was received by Mayor P. J. Corbitt Wednesday morning, according to an announcement. The order stated in part that the Williamstown Water, Light and Power Company was "hereby required to forthwith obtain an adequate supply of pure water for its patrons and consumers in Williamstown and vicinity" and that said company should furnish its consumers with a constant supply of pure and wholesome water.
It was further ordered, the announcement said, that the Williamstown Water, Light and Power Company should proceed with due diligence toward repairing and improving its distributing system, including the mains and service lines, in Williamstown and vicinity. The commission's order was signed by E. D. Lewis, chairman of the public service commission.
In a letter to Mayor Corbitt the commission supplemented its order to the Water Company with the statement that if the water supply was not turned on by Thursday, December 8, the mayor should read an affidavit to this effect to the chairman of the commission and the attorney of that body would be instructed to get into the courts to apply for a writ of mandamus and whatever other relief to which the city was entitled.
The petition designed to boycott Marietta merchants, according to a report circulated, was drafted when Marietta city officials rejected the proposal tendered Monday evening for settlement of the controversy. This proposal, it was stated, provided that Williamstown officials should take full charge of the quarterly collections of the water company and turn the proceeds over to the city of Marietta for application to the bill of approximately $2,000 now owing that corporation for water furnished to the Williamstown Water, Light and Power Company.
The proposal was rejected by Marietta officials, it was said, because the city of Williamstown could not guarantee the bill, the budget of the town already being exceeded.