Snowshoe, landowners file complaint against PSD
On August 16, Snowshoe Mountain, Inc., and five Snowshoe-area landowners filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission (PSC) against the Pocahontas County Public Service District (PSD) for failure to complete construction of a sewage treatment plant for the Snowshoe area.
Ralph W. Beckwith, of Slaty Fork; Harvey E. Galford, of Slaty Fork; Russell Holt, of Mace; Franklin M. Santmyer, of Elkins, and I.L. Morris, of Glenville, joined Snowshoe in the formal complaint against the PSD.
The complaint, filed by counsel, alleges that the PSD "has failed to timely complete the Project, thus imperiling Project funding and exposing the District, its current and future customers to fines and other adverse consequences."
Attached with the complaint were recent letters from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the PSD and its attorney, expressing concern with continued noncompliance with water discharge standards and advising the PSD that "alternative enforcement options" were under consideration.
Enforcement options could include fines as much as $25,000 per day, based on the severity of a water discharge violation.
The complaint requests that the PSC order the PSD to complete the project; seek appointment of a receiver to complete the project and provide whatever other relief is appropriate.
The PSC ordered the PSD to file an answer within 10 days of service of the complaint.
The complaint comes at a time when many Snowshoe-area residents are pressuring the PSD to pursue an alternative sewage system designed by Virginia engineer David Rigby.
Rigby, president of Waste Water Management Inc., presented an alternative design during a Snowshoe Property Owners Council (SPOC) meeting on August 14.
Rigby said his three-plant system would immediately mitigate water discharge violations, protect the environment and cost less than $14 million. SPOC, representing approximately half the property owners at Snowshoe, has given their support to Rigby's plan.
PSD contract engineer Thrasher Engineering designed a single-plant, to be located on Snowshoe Drive, with an estimated cost of $27 million. Funding for Thrasher's design has already been approved through state agencies and the plan is currently under review at the DEP.
Complainants are represented by attorneys John P. Melick, Thomas N. McJunkin and Ellen S. Cappellanti with the Charleston law firm of Jackson Kelly, PLLC.