Green Bank Community, Others Have Mixed Views On Proposed Sewage Storage Tank
Green Bank, WV – Businessman Jacob Meck wants to move a 100,000 gallon storage tank to his business in the Green Bank Industrial Park. He says the tank would be used to hold septic tank waste until it could be transported to a location that will accept the waste. A meeting about the proposed tank move held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank Friday night, drew both supporters and opponents.
For most of the opponents who spoke Friday night, the matter is the tank itself, not Jacob Meck or his businesses. While they appreciate that Meck provides employment for at least nine people, they fear that the tank could pose an ecological and economical threat to the Green Bank area. Tony Bird presented a petition that he says contains at least 80 signatures of those opposed to moving the storage tank to Meck’s leased property across from the Green Bank Senior Center.
Bird and others cited odors from the tank and a decrease in tourism appeal as reasons for not wanting the tank on Meck’s property. But Charlie Sheets, whose car dealership is just up the road, says he trusts Meck to make sure that the tankwill be operated in such a way as to not be a hindrance in any way. Gail Hyre, speaking for the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce, says they also support the Mecks, noting that in 12 years of operating their construction, waste disposal and porta potty businesses, they have had no violations.
The tank is a remnant of the tannery at the East Fork Industrial Park in Frank. Meck says that although the West Virginia Dept of Environmental Protection has given the green light on using the tank for storage, approval to use the tank at the East Fork location has so far been denied.
He says when they first started pumping septic systems in 2006, they could take the waste to Marlinton for disposal. However, Meck now has to haul the waste as far away as Staunton or Verona, Virginia, a sometimes dicey proposition in the winter months.
He says using the tank would allow him to ensure that he has a full load each time his drivers haul the waste, and in turn keep his prices down for his customers. He says the tank, if moved, would be at the back of his property, well off the main road and camouflaged behind trees. Meck stresses that this is storage only, that no sewage will be discharged or treated at the site in Green Bank.
He also points out that there are still many hurdles to clear before he can move the tank. He’s asked the Pocahontas County Commission for permission to lease an additional nine acres of land in the industrial park. A survey has been completed on that parcel, but because the County Commission can’t lease the land themselves, it must go through the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation, the lead economic agency for the county. Once a deed has been signed over to the GVEDC, only then can the property be leased to Meck. It took him approximately 2 years to complete the lease for the three acres his businesses currently occupy.
Pocahontas County Commission President David Fleming thanked all those who attended and spoke at the meeting. He, like Meck, would prefer to keep the tank at the East Fork site, and pledges to continue discussions with the DEP along those lines.