Pocahontas PSD Puts Regional Sewer Project Back On The Drawing Board

Snowshoe, WV – Since being appointed to the Pocahontas County Public Service District Board, Chairman Tom Shipley has made no attempt to hide his displeasure with the Thrasher Engineering designed regional sewer plant at Linwood, also known as Site 7. At the PSD’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, Shipley and new board member David Litsey voted to end that project once and for all. Shipley reads an excerpt from the statement he presented to his fellow board members Tuesday night.

“This is the proposal that I’m making” he says. “The [PSD] board believes it has a duty to inform the citizens of Pocahontas County as well as the state and federal government regarding its plans for a comprehensive solution. Thus, the board has decided that it will no longer support the Site 7 project.”

“The board arrives at this decision after much discussion and review. We firmly believe that it is in the best interest of Pocahontas County to move forward from this plan and pursue a more dynamic solution.”

Fellow board member Amon Tracey voiced his opposition to dropping the Site 7 project.

“This thing has been going on since 2003, somewhere near there – that’s seven years; almost unheard of” says Tracey. “The price was in the low millions at that time and now it’s way up there, and the longer we wait the worse it’s going to get. I’m hearing that any plant that we build to try to come into compliance is at least 2 years away. I believe that Site 7 would be the fastest thing we could do to get rid of the violations that we have.”

While board member David Litsey agrees that the Site 7 project as designed should not go forward, he is interested in holding onto the physical location, for possible use as wastewater treatment facility for Linwood valley residents. But that too is now up in the air since that land is part of a negotiation with Snowshoe under the Site 7 project.

After further discussion Shipley and Litsey voted to accept the statement as presented and send copies to the pertinent regulatory agencies. Tracey abstained from the vote.

The board also approved two other agenda items related to the rejection of the Site 7 project. The first was to give notice that they intend to end their engineering agreement with Thrasher Engineering. Shipley reads the motion.

“I make a motion that the PSD notify Thrasher Engineering that the PSD is exercising its right to terminate the contract for cause and convenience found in paragraph two of the contract for professional services attached and made part of the contract as exhibit E” says Shipley.

The vote to end the contract passed two to one with Tracey opposed. Both Shipley and Litsey praised Thasher engineer Jonathan Carpenter for his work with the board over the last several months. For his part, Carpenter wished the board well, but also reminded them that the staffing requirements for a regional plant were part of the Site 7 proposal, so the board may have to find other sources of revenue for that purpose.

The other related agenda item is notification to the West Virginia Public Service Commission of the boards’ decision about Site 7. Since this is change in scope for the project, the PSD must petition the Commission to reopen the 2005 case that originally approved the regional plant project. The motion to do so passed on a two to one vote with Tracey opposed.

The board also approved, by the same two to one vote, to advertise for bids for a comprehensive sewer project proposal.

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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