PSD Board Member Unwilling To Wait On WV DEP
Durbin, WV – Pocahontas Public Service District board member David Litsey doesn’t want to wait for the official go ahead from the West Virginia DEP to begin planning for the regional sewer design from Waste Water Management, Inc. Last month, the West Virginia Public Service Commission approved the WWMI plan, created by engineer David Rigby. However, the PSC made that approval conditional on the PSD getting approval from the WV DEP to proceed with the preliminary engineering plan. At the PSD meeting this week, Litsey told his fellow board they need to be proactive.
“All the parties want an aggressive schedule for resolution” he says, “and in order to do that, it is my belief that the board of the PSD cannot wait month to month to make decisions that come up that need to be addressed.”
Litsey suggested that the board may want to schedule weekly meetings, and even went so far as to suggest meeting with Rigby to discuss it further. PSD Attorney Chris Negley reminded Litsey that they must have DEP approval before the PSD can sign an engineering agreement with Rigby.
As of the May 31st PSD meeting, the board had not heard from the DEP. They had met with several members of that agency on May 20th to discuss the WWMI plan. Mike Zeto, Chief Inspector with the DEP’s Environmental Enforcement Division, says the agencies response to the PSD is still working its way through various departments.
“That is up in our legal office and it hasn’t gone out yet that I know of” says Zeto ” unless it’s in transit. I haven’t seen things translated into the draft correspondence yet.”
Zeto says it’s not just his review that matters.
“It’ll be reviewed by not only me, but other agency staff” he says. “Folks in our permitting section and of course the Division Director will review it as well. Folks in our state revolving fund program; all of us were in the meeting so all have had input in this matter. It won’t just be my review; others as well, in the water division will be looking at it.”
After further discussion, the PSD board agreed to hold a work session on June 7th to discuss the matter further.
When asked about the May 20th meeting, Zeto did not want to comment on his view of how the meeting went. Due mainly to the fact that a case filed against the PSD in Pocahontas Circuit Court is still alive and kicking.
In the lawsuit, the DEP is seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties for continuing violations of the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act.
They are asking the circuit court to command the PSD to avoid any and all ongoing violations of the pollutant discharge limits and to comply fully with those specified limits. They are asking the court to assess civil penalties up to $25,000.00 per day for each violation, and want the PSD to pay all court and attorneys’ fees incurred by DEP concerning the lawsuit.
In other business, PSD member Amon Tracey used the public comment period to make disparaging remarks about his fellow board members and their actions during the hearings before the PSC. He accused Chairman Tom Shipley and Negley of tampering with scorecards for the engineering projects, and lying about to the PSC. Neither Shipley nor Litsey responded to the accusations.