Three engineering firms survive cut for Snowshoe sewage project
And then there were three.
The Pocahontas Public Service District (PSD) board held a work session and special meeting on December 8 to review qualification statements from eight engineering firms that applied for work on a decentralized sewage system for the Snowshoe area.
During the work session, board members Tom Shipley, Amon Tracey and David Litsey individually graded the firms on their qualifications. The results were turned over to board attorney Chris Negley, who compiled the results and announced the top three.
The top-three firms, which will be interviewed for the project, are: Water Water Management, Inc., of Falls Church, Virginia; Potesta and Associates, of Charleston; and Stafford Consultants, Inc., of Princeton.
The PSD board plans to conduct interviews at a work session prior to its next regular meeting.
Other firms submitting qualification statements were: Randolph Engineering, of Scott Depot; Cerrone Associates, of Wheeling; S&S Engineers, Inc., of Charleston; R.K.&K., LLP, of Keyser; and Dunn Engineers, Inc., of Charleston.
Elk Headwaters Watershed Association supports decentralized sewage system
The Elk Headwaters Watershed Association (EHWA) supports the PSD's plan to build a decentralized, three-plant wastewater system for the Snowshoe area.
EHWA president George Bell submitted a letter to the Public Service Commission (PSC), commending the current PSD for, "their efforts to to understand and act on many complex and contentious issues such as: limiting inter-basin transfer of water; making the best use of existing infrastructure; limiting transport of waste by treating it nearer to its source; the potential impacts of wastewater quality on sensitive in-stream species; design sensitivity to the Karst issues and associated environmental vulnerability; continued involvement of stakeholders and the community; and cost benefit analysis for construction cost and costs to present and future ratepayers."
Bell noted that EHWA will present a watershed plan to the local government in February 2011 as a tool to use in choosing "regionally appropriate infrastructure."
If the decentralized design is built, wastewater effluent from Snowshoe and Silver Creek will discharge into the Shavers Fork watershed. If Thrasher Engineering's 1.5 million gallon-per-day plant on Snowshoe Drive is built, the resorts' effluent would discharge into the Elk River watershed.
PSC hearing scheduled for January 20
Snowshoe Mountain, Inc., and five area landowners filed a legal action against the PSD at the PSC in August, seeking to force the PSD to build the Thrasher plant or put the project into receivership.
The PSC issued an order in the case on December 9, calling for an evidentiary hearing on January 20 at 9:30 a.m. at the PSC offices in Charleston.
**Hearing has been rescheduled for February 9**
The order also:
- requires the PSD to file a petition for approval of a new engineering agreement, including an explanation why a new engineering contract is in the public's best interest.
- denied a PSC staff motion to join the Department of Environmental Protection as a party in the action.
- grants a motion by Eight Rivers Safe Development, Inc., to file an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief in the case.
- denied a PSD motion to strike certain documents from the record.
The next regular PSD meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 30, 7 p.m. at the Linwood Library.