ELKHORN, W. Va (WVVA)-- The first phase of a project begins to replace water lines in eastern McDowell County.

Crews are working beside Route 52 in Elkhorn , digging into rock for the Elkhorn Water Project.

Mavis Brewster, the General Manager of the McDowell County Public Service District, tells us the existing water lines date back to the 1930's and 1940's when they were initially installed by coal companies.

When it's complete, the project will bring cleaner water from a reliable source to families in Kimball, though Northfork, Elkhorn and Switchback, to the Mercer-McDowell County line, she said.

The first phase involves installing the line through Elkhorn, said Brewster, and that costs $8 million. The total project costs is around $25 million, and would be funded by rural development grants.

A new water plant will be constructed in Maybuery, and a groundbreaking is scheduled for next month.

*As reported by WVVA on July 17, 2014