The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

May 22, 2013

Commission hears updates on projects

Despite increasingly scarce funding sources, 14 new sewer and water projects totaling nearly $43 million are in the works in Fayette County, with three more in the hopper.

But at least one, a water service extension to South Miller Ridge, Hawver Road and Fox Cemetery in New Haven, is being held up by litigation with West Virginia-American Water in a case before the Public Service Commission. The water company hasn’t agreed to partner for the operation and maintenance of the project, and without that commitment, the project has hit a funding roadblock.

A temporary mediation agreement in the case last year allowed another New Haven extension in the Spy Rock/Edmond area to proceed.

Representatives from the Region 4 Planning and Development Council have worked to leverage millions in funding for sewer and water projects in the county, and on Friday they gave the county commission an update on all those projects.

The collection and treatment systems at Arbuckle Public Service District have major problems, especially during heavy rain events when the system overflows and pollutes Arbuckle Creek and the New River. The PSD is operating under a consent order from the Public Service Commission.

But a recently completed engineer’s report has provided an in-depth account of what needs to be done to remedy those problems. Manholes that need work have been identified, as have property owners who have breaks in their lines and roof drains running into the system.

“It looks as if Arbuckle has turned a corner, at least in terms of management,” said Smith. “They need to continue going in this direction. There are some big hills yet to climb and it’s easy to get discouraged, but they’ve stuck with it.”

The PSD has an application into the Infrastructure Jobs Development Council (IJDC) for funding for its project. The council may bring up the possibility of consolidating with a nearby wastewater treatment plant serving Oak Hill during review of the application, Smith said.

Other updates included:

n Some, but not all, funding for a $3 million “green” wastewater management system serving 99 people in Winona has been secured. Officials are hoping to receive forgivable loans from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The county itself contributed $125,000 for the project, an unusually large amount.

n A $1.1 million water service extension to Spy Rock/Edmond Road/Flanagan Mountain for 14 customers is expected to go out to bid this summer.

n A $900,000 line extension to 48 customers in the Horse Creek/Town Creek area of Pax is still in the running for a Small Cities Block Grant, just as it has been for several years already. Smith encourages Pax to do everything it can to generate legislative support for the project and let the governor’s office know it’s important.

n Construction on a $14 million sewer upgrade project in Oak Hill is expected in the summer of 2014.

n The Page-Kincaid PSD will see over $4 million in projects, including a wastewater extension, a contamination and lead study and development of an additional raw water source.

n An upgraded wastewater plant for Meadow Bridge is nearly complete, and a water extension at Danese PSD is fully complete.

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