A project that has been more than a decade in the making will soon become a reality for Fayette County’s small town of Winona.
In large part due to the hard work of Rep. Nick Rahall, Fayette County Resource Coordinator Dave Pollard and the Fayette County Commission, a wastewater treatment system will soon serve the more than 100 people residing in the rural community of Winona.
“The Fayette County Wastewater Management Plan began as an effort to protect the public health after devastating floods removed septic fields and tore up traditional infrastructure in 2001,” said Pollard.
Local leaders banded together to collect data revealing dangerous levels of fecal coliform in creeks running through Fayette County and into the New River, Pollard said, adding that water quality had been a chronic problem even in years prior to the flood due to aging septic systems, straight pipes and traditional sewer systems in need of repair.
Working directly with Rep. Rahall, the county received a $450,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant that was used to evaluate sewer needs across the county, Pollard said. Winona, where Keeney’s Creek tested to contain unsafe fecal coliform levels more than 96 percent of the times it was sampled, was deemed as a priority project.
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In February, New Haven Public Service District in Fayette County closed the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection financing to complete a more than $3 million wastewater management project, Pollard said.
The funds came from the DEP’s Green Infrastructure Program.
“Patience is the key word (for this project),” Rahall said, adding that finally securing project funding was the result of teamwork and coordination across several agencies.
“Water and wastewater facilities are a basic necessity of life,” Rahall said.
“Our federal government is a partner in this effort,” Rahall said. “In days when people want to do away with our federal government, I believe there is still a role for the federal government in so many aspects of our life. I believe they can be a working, viable partner, and that’s what they are this project.”
Rahall said that with more than $400,000 in federal funds, Fayette County is currently in a high-level planning mode for Winona’s wastewater solution implementation.
Designed by Lombardo Associates, Inc., an environmental consulting and engineering firm specializing in the development and implementation of creative solutions for wastewater management, the project model includes a low-flow wastewater system that uses a recirculating sand filter and a riparian buffer, Rahall said.