Snowshoe sewage project will proceed
The Department of Environmental (DEP) gave the go-ahead for the Pocahontas Public Service District (PSD) to proceed with Phase I of a decentralized sewage system for the Snowshoe area. Phase I will include a preliminary engineering report and a preliminary design.
In a May 10 order, the Public Service Commission (PSC) gave the PSD 45 days to obtain DEP approval to pursue a decentralized design. On the final, 45th day, the DEP issued a letter authorizing the PSD to proceed, with numerous conditions.
The DEP letter lists six conditions which the PSD must meet as it pursues a decentralized design.
First, the decentralized design must comply with a 40-year extended bonds checklist provided by the DEP. The detailed checklist includes information necessary to approve project funding and includes sections on the useful life, potential customers, capacity, future situation, alternatives, public participation, environmental information, land use planning and socio-economic environment of the facility.
Second, the DEP wants the PSD to include a review of a two-plant solution, rather than a proposed three-plant design. The letter states the DEP's concerns about the difficulty of operation of the Silver Creek sewage plant during the winter months. Engineer David Rigby proposed an upgrade to the Silver Creek plant as part of a three-plant sewage system, known as the Rigby plan.
Third, the PSD design must eliminate all package plants in the Snowshoe area. Package plants are smaller sewage treatment facilities, with a capacity generally less than 50,000 gallons per day peak capacity.
Fourth, the PSD decentralized system must provide service to an area "that matches that of the last service area map that was reviewed and approved by WVDEP." The last system approved by the DEP was Thrasher Engineering alternative 7-12, which provides service to Linwood, Hawthorne Valley and approximately one mile north of the intersection of Route 219 and Route 66.
The DEP letter included a map, as "Attachment B," of Thrasher Engineering alternative 7-1, which included service to the Slaty Fork area, to indicate the mandatory service area, although the last alternative approved by the DEP was Thrasher alternative 7-12. PSD board chairman Tom Shipley said he believed the inclusion of the 7-1 map was an error and had informed DEP Water and Waste Management director Scott Mandirola.
The PSD must explain how a decentralized design will address current and future surges and peak sewage flows during ski season and other times of the year. The assessment of the Rigby plan and alternatives must specify what will happen with the existing treatment lagoons and the impact on the cost of the project.
Finally, the DEP letter directs that "upgrade and/or construction of the collection system must occur concurrently with the upgrade and/or construction of the wastewater treatment facility/facilities. A phased approach to achieving either collection or treatment capacity equivalent to the service area depicted on the map in Attachment B is not acceptable."
A PSD work session and regular meeting was scheduled for June 28. See next week's edition for a report of the results of the work session and meeting.