Environmental Expert Tours Snowshoe Sewer Operations

Snowshoe, WV – Richard Weigand, Director of the West Virginia Environmental Training Center recently toured the Snowshoe sewer facilities with Pocahontas Public Service District board member Tom Shipley, Sewer Manager Lloyd Coleman and Assistant Manager Heidi Hickman. Also on the tour were Pocahontas County Commissioner David Fleming, and David Litsey, who will assume his position on the PSD board after September 23rd.

The tour came up during a special meeting of the PSD Monday night. The board had approved a request to engage Weigands expertise at meeting earlier this summer. For his part, Shipley says he was impressed with Weigands’ advice and critical eye.

“I think just in general I found him to be a very thoughtful, intelligent guy and I learned a lot” says Shipley. “And he had an objective eye; he hasn’t been in the fray of any of this. There are things I think we can all do.”

The board is hopeful that Weigands advice will help them to deal with a number of challenges including effluent violations and equipment purchases. Sewer manager Lloyd Coleman is eager for his advice on staffing.

“We also talked about staffing and transportation and those type of things” says Coleman. “When I was hired by the PSD I was under the impression that we may even be at construction by now. Right or wrong that was the time frame that we were talking about at that time. So we intentionally started operation with skeleton staff.”

He adds that Weigand, among others, says more staff is needed to properly run the plants. But that also means additional transportation vehicles and additional office space with bathroom facilities. Shipley says Weigand will submit a report to the board detailing his findings. The board will then have a work session to discuss the recommendations in detail.

In other business, the board met with Jeff Ellrich and Jim Wary, representatives of Mid Atlantic Storage Systems. Mid Atlantic is a dealer for the manufacturer who designed the equalization tank at the Snowshoe Village sewer plant. They were on hand to give advice on putting a roof on the tank. Ellrich says it’s not that simple.

“The large tank up there that you’re talking about being covered was originally designed not to be covered” says Ellrich. “It was designed as an open top tank. To close that tank you don’t just simply put a roof on that tank and that’s because the side wall will not take the loads, not just of the roof, but in your neighborhood, it’s the snow and because of your winds it’s the imbalanced snow load.”

He says the way to get that problem is build supports around the tank that would be anchored to the ground. Mid Atlantic has other experience dealing with large tanks on the mountain, having built the first water tank near the Mountain Top check-in in 1981. Ellrich says the work required is very specialized.

“Are there other people who can do it? Perhaps, but we’re the largest dealer of these tanks in the world” says Ellrich. “We’re the largest contractor who has done the aluminum geodesic dome roofs like you want to put on there. Our supply chain of domes and technology and engineering exceeds that of anyone else. So in terms of the ability to get it designed properly; get all the necessary design stamps and criteria that you would need to get it through the state, we can do that.”

Estimated costs for the project range from over $600,000.00 to almost $800,000.00. There’s also a question of whether or not the project can be done as part of the current engineering contract with Thrasher Engineering. The board voted to table the agenda item until PSD Attorney Chris Negley can review the Thrasher contract.

The board also approved the following:

A letter of understanding with the Region 4 Planning and Development Council to administer funds for the Durbin water project
And the purchase of a two person Jon boat from Beckley Marine for a little over $2000.00 dollars.

The next regular meeting of the Pocahontas Public Service District is September 28th.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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