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Contamination issues concern Jefferson Co. officials

December 10, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County officials on Thursday discussed a long-standing problem of well-water contamination in Middleway, W.Va., and how the problem might be solved.

Aging residential septic tank systems might be contributing to the water contamination, Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss and other officials said.

Several ways to address the problem were discussed at the Jefferson County Commission meeting Thursday, including possibly extending a sewer line from Berkeley County to the town, which is a small village off W.Va. 51 between Inwood, W.Va., in Berkeley County, and Charles Town.

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County sewer officials have studied extending Berkeley County sewer service to the nearby Happy Creek and Hidden River subdivisions, said Susanne Lawton, general manager of the Jefferson County Public Service District.

Preliminary study has indicated that project would cost about $11 million, Lawton said.

Lawton said the public service district has asked its engineering firm to develop a proposal to include Middleway in that sewer line extension.

Another possible way to solve the problem is to require regular maintenance on septic tank systems, officials said.

Lisa Dunn, sanitarian supervisor for the Jefferson County Health Department, said when homeowners do not perform regular maintenance on septic systems, it can cause them to fail, said

On a recommendation by Corliss, the commissioners agreed to contact the Jefferson County Health Department and the Jefferson County Public Service District for input.

Officials have known about groundwater contamination in Middleway for some time, and one proposal involved sending Middleway's sewage to a treatment plant operated by the former 3M plant near the town, said Dunn.

The printing products plant is now owed by Creo Inc.

"There's possibilities already on the table," Dunn said.

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