Water and Sewer System Options at PMH Being Studied
The Pocahontas County Commission recently held two special sessions. The first one was held on Thursday, June 23rd, during which an initial public meeting was held regarding the water and sewer systems that serve Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH). This informational meeting was led by Leslie Taylor of Region 4 and by Dave Sharp, an Engineer with Podesta and Associates, a firm hired to evaluate the existing systems, and explore alternatives.
Sharp explained that as of now, Podesta has not yet “put boots on the ground” at the hospital site, but Podesta’s goal in this early stage, he explained, is to determine the capacities and condition of the present water and sewer systems. He said they will also look for options for those systems, especially for the sewer discharge, which is now located on private property. Sharp said that is important since there is a possibility that the owner of that property might not renew their agreement allowing that discharge. Sharp said the options include PMH to developing and running their own water and sewer systems, or they could look to connect to the Marlinton systems or have the Pocahontas County Public Service District develop new systems for them. He said consideration might also be given to extend those services to Buckeye to serve other residents in the area if Podesta determines that to be feasible.
Regarding the water system, Sharp said the existing water tank is 37 years old and has not been painted or maintained. He said it could be repaired, replaced or removed entirely, however removing it would greatly reduce water output and pressure.
Sharp said Podesta will be on site in a few weeks and will meet with the PSD, the Town of Marlinton, the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation and the County Commission to reach a consensus about all the options.
The next special session was held on Tuesday, June 28th. The Commissioners heard from Andrew Bair, the CEO of PMH who asked them to give their final approval to accept the 5.7-million-dollar loan offer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be used for expansion of PMH which would expand the Rural Health Clinic, the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy departments, and the Xray department at the hospital. Commission President Walt Helmick recommended that the commissioners approve this, since the hospital payroll alone adds 1.1 million dollars to the county’s economy, and the loan has been structured so that there is no risk to the county. The commissioners approved it.
At that special meeting, the commissioners also approved the Global Science Technology support contract for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, and they approved fiscal year ending invoices before launching into a discussion with 17 county residents who are upset with law enforcement’s response to drug problems in their communities. That discussion was detailed in a separate news story which recently aired on Allegheny Mountain Radio, and it can be found on our website, alleghenymountainradio.org.