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District may alter sewer plant plans

January 23, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Jefferson County sewer official said Thursday a "change of direction" could be in the works for a proposed $25 million sewer plant that has been generating controversy.

Marty Kable, chairman of the Jefferson County Public Service District, said developments earlier Thursday could lead to a change for the plant that has been proposed by the public service district.

Kable made the comments during an afternoon meeting with the Jefferson County Commission.

Kable also said there may be changes in the location of the plant and in how the public service district provides its service.

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After the meeting, Kable declined to elaborate.

The public service district is proposing to build the plant along Cattail Run near the point where the stream empties into the Shenandoah River.

Public service district officials say the treatment plant is needed to serve new housing developments in the area north of U.S. 340 between Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Charles Town.

Some county residents and officials have expressed concerns about the project, such as why it is being proposed when the county is putting together a long-range plan for growth in coming years.

Officials and residents have also raised concerns that sewer bills for county residents could rise sharply if the plant is built.

Last week, the commissioners decided they will not support the plant and voted to set up a meeting with public service district officials to talk about their concerns.

The commissioners repeated their concerns about potential customer rate increases and other issues Thursday.

Susanne Lawton, general manager of the public service district, said it is possible the district could designate some of the sewer plant's collection lines as "denied access" if they run through areas where residential growth is restricted.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan worried about expenses associated with that as well.

Kable reminded the commissioners that the public service district is mandated to provide sewer service to new housing areas and that there are many new residential growth areas, particularly in Ranson, W.Va., which are out of the commissioners' control, Kable said.

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