Pocahontas PSD Could Face More Litigation
Slaty Fork, WV – The Pocahontas County Public Service District is preparing for negotiations with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection next month concerning its progress on a wastewater treatment solution for the Snowshoe area. And a new legal challenge may be on the horizon.
Before its regular monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon, the PSD spend two and a half hours in a closed work session with attorney Tom Michael to discuss legal and regulatory issues. If the DEP isn’t satisfied with the progress being made by the PSD, the utility could face a quarter million dollar fine and up to $75,000 for each day it is out of compliance, according to board member Amon Tracy.
But depending on the outcome of the negotiations in Charleston, the PSD learned Tuesday evening that it and the DEP could face litigation in Federal court from snowshoe homeowner and developer David Litsey.
“[The] DEP may or may not fine you,” said Litsey. “I as a citizen may file suit against the Department of Environmental Protection for failure to enforce. And I believe with all my heart, based upon the limited information that I have that you’re culpable as the living daylights and probably should be fined.”
“[The PSD] had the opportunity to correct the violations and chose not to,” Litsey continued. “Even with the resources available to correct the problem, you just chose not to do it.”
Litsey again urged the PSD to consider the alternative proposal for resort area wastewater treatment that was presented recently by David Rigby, the engineer behind the Silver Creek treatment plant. Litsey says Rigby’s plan is better suited to handling future growth in the valley below Snowshoe Mountain.
“It allows for a free and level playing field at the bottom (of the mountain),” Litsey said. “One person doesn’t own all the capacity. That opportunity doesn’t exist if you bring all the sewerage to one place.”
Litsey also contends that Rigby’s proposal offers a level of safety not available in the current proposal from Thrasher Engineering.
Tracy, who could provide the swing vote on the three-person board to change plans, says his biggest hesitation is the prospect of losing project funding from the Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council if the scope of the project changes. Tracy says he is waiting on a firm answer to this question from County Commission President Martin Saffer.