DEP gives go-ahead for Snowshoe sewage plan
Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reviewed Pocahontas Public Service District (PSD) plans for a multi-plant sewage system to serve the Snowshoe area and has approved the project to move forward. The West Virginia Public Service Commission will make the final determination on the future of the multi-plant project, which Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. and five area landowners oppose.
The Public Service Commission required the PSD to get DEP approval for the multi-plant design. The DEP sent a letter to the PSD on June 29, stating “the facility plan is acceptable for further processing.” The letter states that financial worksheets and clearances from the State Division of Culture and History and local floodplain coordinator still need to be filed.
Snowshoe Mountain Incorporated and the five area landowners filed a legal action at the PSC to stop the multi-plant project. The group is litigating to force construction of a previously designed single-plant system, which they argue would provide more capacity for growth in the valley.
The estimated construction cost for the multi-plant system is $19.9 million, and $25.5 million for the single-plant system. The multi-plant system would utilize land and assets at the existing Snowshoe Village sewage plant, reducing its overall cost, but require the acquisition of two acres in Linwood for a plant to serve the valley – at a cost approaching half-a-million dollars. The estimated cost of land and rights-of-way for the multi-plant system is $711,000. The land and rights-of-way cost for the single plant design is much lower – $220,000 – because Snowshoe agreed to donate land for the plant.
A status conference at the PSC is scheduled for Friday in the dispute. In a pre-conference memorandum filed with the PSC, the complainants claim that the PSD and its engineering firm, WWMI, have lost any credibility. The memo states that the PSD cannot be trusted and that the WWMI facilities plan contains absurd, misleading and outright false information.
WWMI president David Rigby is scheduled be present at the conference on Friday to defend his company’s plan.
AMR News will report the results of the status conference as soon as we have them.