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Town seeks PSC’s treatment plant OK

By Staff | Jan 15, 2010

In the next few weeks, Shepherdstown officials will apply to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia for permission to build improvements to the municipal sewage treatment plant, bringing the town closer to the goal of upgrading the existing sewer treatment plant on East High Street.

“We hope to be the first utility in West Virginia to have a Chesapeake Bay compliant sewage treatment plant,” said Hoy Shingleton, a utilities attorney for Shepherdstown, at last Tuesdays regular Town Council meeting at 104 N. King Street.

Shingleton said that he would be filing an application with the PSC requesting a “certificate of convenience and necessity” to improve the plant. A decision by the PSC could take anywhere from 180 to 270 days to be rendered, once filed, according to Sarah Robertson, spokesperson for the PSC.

The corporation of Shepherdstown is also seeking a discharge permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. A discharge permit grants a utility permission to discharge treated waste water into a watershed, and sets strict limits on pollution. Any new utilities built in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which Shepherdstown is, must adhere to limits set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, limits which govern things like how much phosphates and nitrates are allowed to be in the discharge stream. Violations of the limits can incur fines at the federal and state level, said Shingleton in a phone interview of Wednesday.

The news was not on the agenda for the Town Council that night. Instead, Shingleton’s announcement came as a side comment during discussions leading up to the final vote to use over $300,000 in stimulus funds to upgrade a waste water pump on King Street extended. That vote was carried unanimously, though three council-members, Stuart Wallace, Jim Ford, and Wanda Grantham Smith, were not present at the meeting.