Rigby to present sewage plan this month
A new sewage system design for the Snowshoe area should be unveiled this month.
During the PSD board meeting on August 30, board member David Litsey said contract engineer David Rigby would be prepared to present his plan by the end of September. Board president Tom Shipley said he likely would call a special meeting for the board and public to hear the details of the plan.
In February 2009, the Pocahontas Public Service District (PSD) board selected Thrasher Engineering's alternative 7-12 for the Snowshoe-area sewage system. The alternative called for a 1.5 million gallon per day (gpd) plant on Snowshoe Drive. Thrasher estimated the cost of its plant and collection system at $25.5 million.
In October 2010, a PSD board, with three different members, voted 2-1 to fire Thrasher and pursue a multi-plant design. The board selected Waste Water Management, Inc. (WWMI) to devise the new system. Rigby, WWMI president, said he could produce a design that would cost as much as 10 million less than the Thrasher system.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) gave the PSD until November 10 to produce a design for a decentralized sewage system. The PSD will need PSC approval for any new design it submits.
During a public comment period, five Snowshoe-area residents spoke in favor of continuing with the Rigby plan and two spoke in favor of the Thrasher plan.
Linwood resident Russell Holt said the PSD had wasted money by pursuing a multi-plant design.
"Opponents of the single sewer plant would have the public believe that their Rigby multi-plant system, that has escalated from $9 million to $10 million, $11 million, $14 million, $18 million and now $21.5 million, is saving money when the original Thrasher plan would have cost $17.5 million and been completed in 2004," he said.
Snowshoe resident Mike Pancione said there were a maximum of 270 permanent residents in the Linwood area and building an expensive high-capacity plant near Linwood didn't make sense.
"If the Rigby plan meets the requirements for development, for environmental protection, for the proper treatment of sewage, I can't imagine why any one of the members of the board would be in favor of a more expensive plan," he said.
Board member Amon Tracey, who has consistently opposed the Rigby plan, said he would favor the cheapest plan.
"I'd put it on the cheapest plan providing it covered all the things in the Thrasher coverage," he said.
Snowshoe resident Bob Forrest accused Tracey of conferring with Holt and told Tracey that he should support the people who pay sewage bills.
"After all, it's our money that is being wasted," he said. "It's not your money that's being wasted and it's not Mr. Holt's money that's being wasted. It's our money that's being wasted. Mr. Tracey, I believe firmly that you should be supporting the ratepayers and not supporting the land speculators and developers."
Tracey denied conferring with Holt and said he did support the ratepayers.
"I do support the ratepayers," he said. "I certainly do, to the best of my knowledge, and I always will."
Snowshoe resident Donelle Oxley said resort management might drop its opposition to the Rigby plan.
"In the homeowners meeting two weekends ago, management took the position that they were on the fence as far as which plan would work and that what they had seen so far of the Rigby plan was very promising," she said.
Over protestations by board president Tom Shipley, Linwood resident Kermit Friel displayed a map indicating growth potential in the Linwood area and said it would be unwise to underestimate the need for sewage capacity in the valley.
"This is an infrastructure project," he said. "It's for the present and the future."
The board proceeded to agenda items and heard an update from Thrasher engineer Randy Watson.
Watson, the project manager for the Bartow-Frank-Durbin water project, informed the board there is $140,000 remaining in project funds. Watson recommended spending the money for: painting of the interior and exterior of the Bartow water tank, at a cost of $62,000; 300 touch-read water meters, at a cost of $46,500; fencing at the water tank and water plant, at an estimated cost of $25,000, and a generator for the water plant, at an estimated cost of $6,500.
The board voted 3-0 to approve the expenditures and directed Watson to coordinate with the IJDC for approval of the use of the excess funds.
W.D. Smith, Region IV, Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council executive director, presented the board with invoices for the water project for the last two months. The board voted 3-0 to approve payment of the invoices. Region IV received $8,049.07 for funding administration. J.F. Allen Company received $128,628.06 for construction work and Thrasher Engineering received $10,416.58 for design work.
PSD treasurer Rick Barkley informed the board that five delinquent water bills and five delinquent sewer bills had been filed with the Magistrate's Court for judgment and collection.
The board discussed a proposal to purchase an office trailer for the wastewater operations branch. Wastewater manager Lloyd Coleman proposed the purchase in order to locate employees to the Snowshoe Village sewage plant and save the PSD a $750 monthly rental payment for its offices in Linwood.
Tracey said Varner Construction in Durbin had two new trailers for sale. The board directed Coleman to inspect the trailers to see if they would be suitable for PSD use.
In other business, the PSD board:
- voted 2-1 to approve payment of wastewater operation bills of $95,535.40 and water operations bills of $12,605.24 for August. Tracey voted nay because he opposes payment for WWMI engineering services.
- approved the financial statement for August, which indicated $64,636 in total revenue and $95,118.33 in total expenses under the sewer account; and $13,546.85 in total revenue and $10,197.28 in total expenses under the water account.
The next PSD board regular meeting is scheduled for September 27. Time and location will be announced.