PSD holds special work session, discusses alternatives
The Pocahontas Public Service District will hold a special meeting next month but PSD board member David Litsey called for a public work session Saturday to "get out information in an informal setting."
According to Litsey, the purpose of the meeting was to let people ask questions and gather questions for the project engineer Dr. David Rigby.
Board members presented a summary of new engineering alternatives they are considering for serving customers at Snowshoe and in Linwood valley.
"The first option was the Dave Curtis property, located close to the intersection of 66 and 219 at Linwood. It sits just off to the left of 219 headed north. It's a two acre tract that was advertised as being a commercial site. In approximately 2001, Mr. Curtis applied for a sewer treatment plant permit for that site, and was granted a 10,000 or 20,000 gallon per day permit to create a sewer treatment plant, along with a motel and an office complex. He never utilized it; however, he did keep it current. It does exist today in a live file at the Department of Environmental Protection. Dr. Rigby has identified this site as being adequate and geo-tech studies have been done on that, so that's one site that is available," said Litsey.
The second site is behind the Inn at Snowshoe where there is already some of the necessary infrastructure in place; sequencing batch reactors, the processing tanks designed for treating waste water.
"The best I can trace it back is that at some point in time, Snowshoe had a laundry in the Inn at Snowshoe and they were trying to figure out ways to process the sewage there and the effluent from the laundry and the motel, and came up with a plan to put in a 100,000 gallon SBR unit there. They abandoned that and eventually came up with what I will call the Hawthorne treatment plan to utilize those basins, 90,000 gallon basins, as part of an aerated equalization facility for use at the Inn at Snowshoe," said Litsey.
According to Litsey, an equalization unit takes in sewage, stores it, keeps it active and then feeds it into the system so there is a continual rate of flow at exactly the right concentration of material.
"The machinery and the chemical process, the biological processes, all work more effectively when everything is kept relatively constant," said Litsey. "It turns out that if you equip that plant and redo it as a membrane facility, you can get 300,000 gallons per day, regular flow at that location. The key to that, again, is equalization. Dr. Rigby has identified a site behind the Ski Barn that is owned by Woodford Oil, as the best location for that equalization facility. How big is that? A tank, forty feet wide by thirty feet high. That would equalize all of the flow coming from any direction in the valley and coming off [Rt.] 66."
Litsey feels that option, with a 300,000 gallon per day system, is more than sufficient for future development.
"As I understand it, our current average daily flow in peak season down at the bottom is about 35,000 gallons per day. So if we're talking about a 300,000 gallon per day plant, that's ten times everything that's developed there in the last forty years. I certainly think that's adequate for future development. It also provides membrane technology, which gives you the very best that we currently have in terms of effluent quality," said Litsey.
The third alternative is referred to as site 7-12 and is the most costly option, primarily due to distance and elevation.
"That's about a 400 foot elevation shift. It's just enough to require two lift stations," said Litsey. "The least expensive of the three options is behind the Inn at Snowshoe, and it's by several million dollars."
Pocahontas County Commission president David Fleming attended the special work session and expressed his appreciation of the PSD board's efforts.
"I really like what you guys are talking about, I really like seeing the options. I wasn't aware what the options were, so that gives me something to think about. I think you all are doing a great job talking about this," said Fleming.
Snowshoe resident Bruce Wessel has attended PSD meetings in years past and said he was pleased with the board's progress.
"I think they're doing a thoughtful, thorough job. I think we need to weigh not only the costs, but the long-term plan for development, not just the least expensive way to go. They're listening, I think, more to what the residents want," said Wessel.
PSD's special meeting is scheduled for Saturday January 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Linwood Library.