Pocahontas County Commissioners Talk About Mecks Sewage Tank

Dunmore, WV – A proposal to move a 100,000 gallon waste storage tank to property leased by businessman Jacob Meck in the Green Bank Industrial Park has been a controversial one, generating a great deal of opposition in Pocahontas County. But County Commission President David Fleming says that move may no longer be needed.

The tank in question is currently located at the East Fork Industrial Park, the site of the former Howes Leather tannery. Meck, who purchased tank from the County Commission, would prefer to leave the tank where it is, but he’s been told by the West Virginia Dept of Environmental Protection that it can’t be used in its current location. That’s why Commissioner Fleming stepped in to speak with a DEP representative. Fleming spoke about this during the April edition of Commissioners Corner on Allegheny Mountain Radio.

“I sat down with Mr. Patel, who is the above ground permitter for DEP” says Fleming. “What I learned is that technically DEP doesn’t permit above ground tank usage; there’s no permit for a storage tank. The only issues are with respect to surface water contamination and odor. And if both of these concerns can be addressed, then the DEP would sign off on the usage of that tank.”

Fleming says Meck would have to put a top on the open tank.

“An open top sewage containment isn’t something the DEP would sign off on” he says. “The tank would have to be closed; some apparatus would have to be put in to deal with methane buildup and release of gas in such a fashion that no odor was to be a problem. They would sign off on that if provisions were made to deal with that; as long as the second concern were met, which is that no storm water can come in contact with the contained material. And if the tank is to be closed then no storm water would come in contact, so that one’s kind of easy.”

Meck would also have to provide a secondary form of containment around the tank to ensure that the contents can’t leak out and contaminate either the surface or ground water.

“There are a couple of ways to do that; the prevalent way is to build a dyke or a earthen dam around it” says Fleming. “There is one other component, the [Pocahontas] Health Dept actually has to sign off on it, has to permit the usage of the tank. So my understanding at this point is that Mr. Meck is working with the Health dept and the DEP to see if the tank can be used at Frank.”

If that turns out to be the case, Fleming says he will schedule a meeting with Frank residents just as he did in Green Bank.
There is still the issue of the additional nine acres in the Green Bank Industrial Park that Meck would like to add to the three acres he already leases. Last December, the County Commission tentatively agreed to deed the additional land to Meck via the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation.

But many in Green Bank are opposed to this, citing the fact that Meck says the expansion will not immediately create any new jobs. Like Commissioner Fleming, Commissioner Jamie Walker has heard from constituents on both sides of the issue. Walker says he’s even heard from one entrepreneur who sees a possible business opportunity.

“We have one gentleman that I have talked to that is interested in working with the methane gas, and possibly putting in some type of collection center where you could convert that into apparently the same thing as propane and use that for heat or possibly even fuel for automobiles” says Walker. “And on the job aspect for Mr. Meck, if you look around the county at the people that’s cutting back and closing the doors, the goal may not be to add people, but its just to expand enough to keep what you’ve already got.”

And while it may not be a topic of pleasant conversation, Fleming doesn’t rule out the idea of creating a storage facility for this kind of waste somewhere in the county. He’s also quick to point out that this is only an idea that still needs a great deal of research before going any further.

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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