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Wastewater treatment plant recognized by DEP

By Staff | Jul 24, 2015

The new wastewater treatment plant in Shepherdstown has made a splash as one of the first in the state to meet the Chesapeake Bay watershed requirements, and was recently recognized by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

According to information from the West Virginia DEP, the annual Environmental Awards recognize the accomplishments of industries, municipalities, educators and community leaders in the state who strive to protect the environment, be good corporate neighbors and educate citizens.

The recipients of the DEP’s Environmental Awards are chosen by environmental inspectors.

According to Frank Welch, director of public works for the corporation of Shepherdstown, the wastewater treatment plant was recognized by the DEP for being a sewage treatment plant with a capacity of more than 400,000 gallons per day that complies with the Chesapeake Bay watershed standards.

Welch said an older wastewater treatment plant in Shepherdstown received recognition from the DEP in the past, before the current, $9.2 million plant upgrade was completed 2012.

“You have to give credit to the (residents of ) town for paying higher rates,” Welch said. “The town is very ‘green’ and this (plant) fits right into that. I give credit to the customers who had to pay for this, because they accepted higher rates.”

In a municipality, ordinances and proposals are read at town council meetings, Welch said. If the governmental process and public readings are completed without protest, things like sewer rate increases can be implemented by the town council.

“There was no objection or protest from the public as far as raising the rate. People want clean water, they want a clean Chesapeake Bay, and that’s what we want, too. We like giving tours of the plant. We’re proud of it,” he said.

Welch and the public works staff of Shepherdstown were given a green West Virginia-made glass award by the DEP.

Though it may seem like a token, Welch said the “little piece of glass” means something.

“A lot of the other awards went to places in the center of the state, and sometimes we feel left out here in the Eastern Panhandle,” he said. “We’re doing our best to lead the way, so this award is really special.”