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Jefferson County officials inspect plans for $25 million plant

October 07, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - While Berkeley County officials received a $25 million loan to extend sewer service in the county Monday, Jefferson County sewer and water officials looked at a plan for a new $25 million sewage treatment plant to serve new housing that is "growing by leaps and bounds."

Monday night, the Jefferson County Public Service District was presented with a plan to build the new sewer treatment plant along Cattail Run near the point where the stream empties into the Shenandoah River.

The sewage treatment plant is needed to serve new housing developments popping up in the area north of U.S. 340 between Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Charles Town, said Wilbur Smith, engineer for the public service district.

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The area of growth is made of several current developments, including Breckenridge, Carriage Park and Walnut Grove, Smith said.

Smith proposed that the sewage plant be paid for through low-interest loans from the state. Numerous steps need to be taken in order for the plant to become a reality, including review of the plan by the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council and the state Department of Environmental Protection, which would have to issue discharge permits for the plant, he said.

The plan already was coming under close scrutiny during the public service district's monthly meeting in the Old Charles Town Library's meeting room.

Charles Town-area resident Joe Coakley questioned the timing of the project.

When a previous sewer project was proposed for the county, it was sent to the Jefferson County Planning Commission for review, Coakley said. But planning commission officials felt they should not respond to that plan until the county's comprehensive plan was completed, Coakley said.

The comprehensive plan, which still is being reviewed by county officials, is a lengthy document that determines how the county should grow in coming years.

"We're putting the cart before the horse," Coakley told public service district members.

Smith said he could not respond because he does not work for the planning commission.

Jefferson County resident Richard Latterell questioned the location of the plant, and suggested a better site would be where it could serve rapid residential growth to the east and south of Charles Town.

Smith said he does not know when the plant might be built or whether current public service district customers could be facing rate increases to pay for the new plant. The public service district has more than 1,300 sewer customers in the county.

A public hearing on the proposed plant will be held Monday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at Wright Denny Intermediate School on West Congress Street, Smith said.

Copies of the sewer plant plan can be viewed at each of the county's libraries, Smith said.

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