WEIRTON - Sanitary Board staff members continue to work on preparations for the $5.8 million sewer project that will correct decades worth of problems in the northern part of the city.
The first phase of the project will reroute the flow from ArcelorMittal's Outfall A back to the 5th Street lift station to stop the sanitary flow of 1,000 structures from going into the Ohio River and direct it toward the sanitary plant.
Jonathan Carpenter of Thrasher Engineering said surveys are still being conducted on the site and they are in the process of working on a land swap agreement with ArcelorMittal that will give employees and contractors the ability to get on and off the property during construction and follow-up maintenance of the lines. During Thursday's meeting, he informed the board that he met with representatives from the different utilities and the West Virginia Department of Highways, who do not have any issues with bringing the 5-mile force main pipe down the center of Main Street.
"The DOH gave the approval to do trench repair on Route 2," he said. "I'll be talking to Alex Paris (Contracting Company) about directional drilling and evaluate what can be done."
Carpenter said the preliminary designs and reports were sent to the West Virginia Infrastructure Council and the 3-percent interest, 20-year loan was approved. In addition, he said he was still waiting to hear back from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on whether or not the "no significant impact" status will be granted.
During the January meeting, Carpenter said he also had intentions of going to the West Virginia Public Service Commission to talk about giving the first phase of the project emergency status to expedite the process.
The December 2013 deadline was set by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection after it was discovered the sewage had been going into the Ohio River for more than 50 years.
The second phase of the project will call for an upgrade to that portion of the system which will include laying 26,000 feet of 16-inch piping down Main Street to channel flow back to the treatment plant to prevent overflow at the 5th Street lift station because of the old line not being big enough to handle the flow from the lift station to the treatment plant.
In November, Weirton City Council passed the second reading of an ordinance calling for an increase in sewer rates to fund the project. The rate increase will be split into two phases. Customers can expect to see the cost of Phase I of the project, approximately $6.98 over the current $5.70 rate.
Finance Director Tom Maher Jr. said the first phase of the sanitary rate increase will hit customers receiving their bills as early as next week.