Pocahontas Public Service District Faces Deadline To Choose New Engineering Firm For Regional Sewer Plant
Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Public Service Commission has set a deadline of January 10th, 2011 for the Pocahontas Public Service District board to submit a new engineering plan for the beleaguered sewer project at Snowshoe. The PSD will have a work session on December 30th to interview three engineering firms who submitted proposals for the project. The three firms, Waste Water Management, Inc., Potesta and Associates, and Stafford Consultants, were culled from a list of several potential suitors at an earlier PSD meeting.
The PSD must also give an explanation of why the new contract is in the best interest of the public. This is in anticipation of an evidentiary hearing before the WV PSC next year. That hearing, originally scheduled for January 20th, has been rescheduled for February 9th, 2011 at 9:30am.
The PSC held a status conference in November, after a group of local landowners and Snowshoe Mountain filed a complaint asking the PSC to force the PSD to proceed with the Thrasher Engineering designed regional sewer plant at Linwood. That project was dropped by the PSD board in October.
The complainants, Ralph Beckwith, Harvey Galford, Russell Holt, Ike Morris, Frank Santmyer and Snowshoe, asked the PSC place the Pocahontas PSD in receivership to ensure that the regional plant is built. They also complain that by abandoning the regional plant at Linwood, the PSD has wasted the two million dollars already spent on professional services related to that project.
Opponents to the regional plant, including the Snowshoe Property Owners Council, the Pocahontas County Commission, and the PSD board ask that the PSC give the newly constituted PSD board additional time to formulate an alternative to the regional plant proposal.
A motion to include the WV Dept of Environmental Protection as a party in the case was denied, as the PSC notes that any environmental violations against the PSD will mostly likely be litigated in Pocahontas County Circuit court. They also denied motions from the PSD to strike certain documents related to the November status conference, as they have not been entered into an evidentiary record.
The PSC will allow a letter submitted by the DEP in November to be part of the evidentiary hearing in February. They’ll also allow Eight Rivers Safe Development to submit a Friend of the Court Brief for the February hearing. Perhaps 2011 will be the year when this project, after years of litigation and conflict, will get the green light to begin.