Commission says East Fork clean up nearly finished
East Fork Industrial Park could be cleaned up in two weeksﾗthat is if Mother Nature would cooperate with the county commission.
But a rainy season, even a season with intermittent rains, has bogged down efforts to get the former Howes Leather tannery sludge fromﾠ several ponds to a lined, sealed chamber.
Commissioners said Wednesday they were as anxious as the Department of Environmental Protection to have the clean up complete.
ﾓLord knows we all would like to have it done,ﾔ said commissioner James Carpenter. ﾓWeﾒre doing everything up there we can do.ﾔ
Carpenter said he was concerned that the inspection team which discovered the violations came to the site in August on a day when commissioners could not be there and that the commission had been given the incorrect date for the inspection.
Further, Carpenter said, since the inspection took place in August, he found it odd that the commission was not formally notified of the violations until three months later.
The only explanation he got for that, he said, was that East Fork ﾓfell through the cracks.ﾔ
Although the DEP faulted the commission for the delays in East Forkﾒs clean up, Carpenter said the original order contains no completion date.
Carpenter said all water samples had come back in compliance. And the commissioner said the supposed pollution was, in fact, iron water, and the ﾓoily substanceﾔ on top of that water turned out to be the bacteria that eats the iron.
While the site does have transformers in a building, those transformers are not leaking, he said.
The water runoff was corrected two days after the August inspection, Carpenter said.
Federal inspectors have not contacted the commission about any violations, he continued.
Commissioners will hold a public meeting in December about the change in scope of project for the Mountain Waters Byway Information Center Transportation Enhancement Project.
The grant was originally slated for the historic Huntersville Presbyterian Church; however, a complaint by a former county commissioner blocked the grant for that site because the Freemasons, an organization with limited membership, owns the property.
Norman Alderman, a commissioner from 1989-1994, told the commission in 2004 that limited public access to the church would constitute a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Members of Huntersville Masonic Lodge subsequently withdrew their interest in the project and the commission changed its plans.
The visitor center will now be located at the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau in Marlinton.
ﾓItﾒs a pure shame,ﾔ Carpenter said. ﾓThat building (Huntersville Presbyterian) is historic. We lose a chance to restore a building like that because someone always files a complaint. And itﾒs the same six or eight people who complain about everything. We missed a huge opportunity up there.ﾔ
Aldermanﾒs discrimination complaint was closed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Carpenter and commissioner Reta Griffith also heard from Marlinton resident Charles Malcom.
Malcom requested a letter of support for the development of a shooting range on the Monongahela National Forest. Malcom said he wanted a safe place for hunters to sight their guns and do target practicing. He said neighboring national forests have shooting ranges that are used frequently and have little to no upkeep.
Griffith said the commission would write a letter of inquiry about the feasibility of the project to Ranger Rondi Fischer.
Commission president Joel Callison did not attend the Wednesday meeting because of a funeral.
In other business, the commission:
ﾕappointed Caroline Sharp to the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation Board for a three-year term
ﾕappointed Jeff Barlow and Amos Meck to one year terms on the Pocahontas County 911 Advisory Board and Craig Doss, Bill McLaughlin and Donald McNeel to three-year terms on that same board
ﾕapproved the estimate for shelving in the county clerkﾒs office.
ﾕapproved the predator control agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture
ﾕapproved the grant application for the Town of Durbin with the Local Economic Development Assistance Grant Program for $20,000; however, noted that the town has to have signed contracts and have the grant approved before the commission will release funds
ﾕapproved the support of the grant application for $45,000 for the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund
The commission will meet again in regular session November 21.