Professional Wastewater Engineer Proposes Alternative Design For Pocahontas Regional Wastewater Plant
Snowshoe, WV – David Rigby says he can design a smarter regional wastewater plant for the Snowshoe area at roughly half the cost of the proposal currently on the drawing board. Rigby backed up that audacious claim with a presentation to the Pocahontas County Public Service District board Wednesday night at Snowshoe.
Rigby, a professional wastewater engineer who heads Waste Water Management, Inc., has almost 40 years of experience in the field. He prepared the very preliminary report at the request of Snowshoe area homeowner David Litsey,one of several vocal critics of the current plant proposal that could cost up to 40 million dollars. Rigby met with Litsey, several other homeowners and PSD board member Tom Shipley during the last weekend of March.
Rigby’s plan would add new facilities to the current existing sewage plants at Snowshoe and Silver Creek. It would maintain the three million gallon equalization tank at the Snowshoe plant site. Rigby says these upgrades would allow the resort to handle visitor flow.
“Operate those in such a manner that, in the wintertime, both of those plants are operational” says Rigby. “Then as the spring comes on, and flows drop off, then take the plant at Snowshoe and have a pump station between Snowshoe and the Silver Creek area.”
He says this will also make the system more efficient in the summertime.
As with the current plan, this one also calls for a new permanent treatment plant at the Linwood site. Rigby says his generous estimate of the total cost of this project would be around 20 million dollars, or half the cost of the plant as designed by Thrasher Engineering. Mechanical chillers could add another three million dollars to the cost. He says using a “Design/Build – Guaranteed Maximum Price” program could get the project started as early as this summer.
However, PSD Attorney Tom Michael pointed out that it’s unlikely that the PSD could get regulatory approval that quickly from either the West Virginia Dept of Environmental Protection or the WV Public Service Commission. Michael also pointed out that Design-Build is illegal in West Virginia. He says choosing this or a similar plan would essentially set the project back to square one, but many Snowshoe homeowners feel the PSD is rushing to build a plant that is not necessarily the best fit for the area.
Jonathan Carpenter, an engineer with Thrasher, says changing the plan now would also change the scope. That means the PSD would probably have to reapply to the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council (IJDC) for project funding.
Beyond the lengthy discussion, the board took no other action on this proposal. It’s likely it will be a topic of discussion at the next regular meeting of the Pocahontas Co PSD on Tuesday, April 30th.