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Brooke PSD changes its approach to sewer project

December 13, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

WELLSBURG - As it receives an additional $400,000 for the second phase of the Eldersville Road sewer project, the Brooke County Public Service District has changed its approach.

On Wednesday Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced the approval of a Small Cities Block Grant in that amount through the West Virginia Development Office. It is among $12.5 million in federal grants awarded for 17 water and sewer projects in the state.

The Brooke County PSD Board authorized Randy Watson of Thrasher Engineering, the engineer for the project, to complete designs.

Article Photos

GRANT AWARDED — Gov. Early Ray Tomblin, center, presented state Sen. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg, right; and Dan Ferrell of Thrasher Engineering, the engineer for the Eldersville Road sewer project, with confirmation of a $400,000 Small Cities Block Grant for the project’s second phase. - Contributed

Plans call for sewer lines to be extended from Black's Hollow in the Cross Creek area and to St. John's and Eldersville roads for as far as funding will support. The project is actually the second phase of a larger project that already has included the extension of sewer lines to Mahan Lane, Eldersville Road west of Mahan Lane and Bruin Drive. It was funded by a $9.8 million federal grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because concerns were raised about raw sewage from residents' overtaxed septic systems reaching streams in the area.

Citing a lack of funds available for the second phase, the Brooke County PSD board earlier moved to divide the second phase into smaller segments to be pursued as funds became available.

But Barbara Zimnox, a community development specialist for the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, told the board Wednesday the state Development Office doesn't support that.

Instead officials with the office have encouraged the board to use the grant money to leverage a $700,000 loan for the entire phase, she said.

Once completed, the project is expected to serve about 550 homes and small businesses.

In related business, the board moved to write to its attorney, Wayne Mielke, saying he will need to resolve issues connected to the project within 10 days.

As the board's legal counsel, Mielke has been involved in acquiring easements for the first phase. But Mielke said this summer the board made plans to hire a new attorney for the second phase. He said that would be a breach of contract because he was hired for the entire project.

Mielke, who was called for comment, said not having seen the letter, he can't respond to their issues.

Also on Wednesday, the board:

Heard from resident Paul McQuillan, who asked how soon a sewer line will be extended near his home on Eldersville Road near Boyd Road and the cost to tap into it and for the service.

Watson told McQuillan the extension of sewer lines to that area may not occur for at least two years.

Board members said the cost for service will be based on the customer's water usage if they receive water through the city of Follansbee, or a base rate if they get their water from private wells.

The base rate is $46.17, but that could change, depending on funding available for the project, they noted.

Board member Bill Liposchak said the future customers will be required to hire a contractor to extend lines from the main line to their homes. That cost can range from $500 to $1,200, he said.

Heard from resident Dominic Martino, who asked when a sewer line will be extended to his home off Cross Creek Road.

Martino's home is near the project area but wasn't included because it was too far from the main line, Brooke PSD officials said. They have since agreed to add it.

Watson said cost estimates will be sought for the extension and if they are more than $10,000, the board must seek bids for it.

Tabled the approval of minutes from three previous meetings. When asked why, Liposchak said they can't be approved until some legal issues have been resolved.

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