Paw Paw seeking federal dollars for sewer plant & line upgrades

Public hearing about grant proposal set for March 23

by Kate Evans

The Town of Paw Paw is pursuing federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Rural Utilities Service to make upgrades to the town’s sewer system in part to bring it into environmental compliance.

The town’s proposed sewer improvement project consists of wastewater treatment plant and pump station rehabilitation and potential replacement of 16,000 linear feet of sewer lines in the southern end of town.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m. at Paw Paw Town Hall at 122 Winchester Street in Paw Paw.

The public can also attend virtually through GoToMeeting at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/745706789 or by conference call at 1-646-749-3112 access code 745-706-789.

John Cole, RK&K Engineering municipal engineering manager, said that the sewer improvement project will cost $3.57 million.  He’ll be providing information about the proposed project at the meeting and the economic and environmental impacts, service area and alternatives.

Paw Paw Town Clerk Ron Davis said that the last sewer improvement project took place in 2012-2013 and involved the lower northwestern side of town.  This sewer project would encompass the remaining southern section of town.

Water runoff, violations

Part of the project will be to check for infiltration issues.  The town is having a problem with rainwater runoff getting into the wastewater facility that’s not water that needs treatment, Davis said.

The town’s sewer system infrastructure is at least 46 years old and has had several upgrades over the years.  This is another upgrade to the system.

Davis said that the Town of Paw Paw has received some Department of Environmental violations (DEP) due to the equipment and treatment process failing some tests and not meeting standards.  There are no customer sewage complaints — it’s mostly due to the DEP violations, he noted. The violations aren’t critical but the town needs to address them.

The project improvements for the wastewater treatment plant will bring the facility into compliance, Cole said.  Modifications are also being done to the pump station.

Funding

The Town of Paw Paw applied on Wednesday, March 10 for project funding from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council.   The town is also seeking funding from the USDA and the State Revolving Fund through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Each agency has different requirements for loans and grants, Cole said.

Davis said they are applying for a 75% grant from the USDA.  The remaining monies to fund the project will have to come from low-interest loans.  The water and sewer rates would probably have to go up to pay for the loan.   Cole felt sure that there will be a rate increase — the town needs one anyway since the water and sewer department is barely breaking even on the system.

History, infiltration study

Cole noted that the sewer construction in 2013 was north of the railroad tracks and that the preliminary focus of construction in the 1980s was south of the tracks.  A couple little tracts on the north side where not everything had been completed or repaired in 2013 are included in the new project.

Cole said that there is significant influx and infiltration (I & I) that is getting into the sewer system.  They will conduct a study to determine where the extraneous water flow/runoff) is coming into the sewer pipe collection system.  The study will help them determine what type of rehabilitation work is needed.

The public hearing is part of the USDA’s requirements for project grant/loan funding.  Cole said he looked at the different alternatives and came up with the most viable economic project options.   They’ll be reaching out to environmental agencies about any project concerns so the design of the project can address those concerns.

In planning stage

Cole said that the project is in the planning stage now and they haven’t started the design process yet.  It takes time to get a project funded and designed.  The start date will depend on when the funding becomes available. The sewer improvement project is scheduled for completion in 2023.

If people are interested or have questions about the sewer improvement project, they can attend the meeting and ask the engineer of town council members, Davis said.  The goal of the meeting is to let the public know about the project and that it’s moving forward.

For more information about the project, contact Cole at 304-788-3370 or email him at jcole@rkk.com.

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