By Jean A. Flanagan
Former Wardensville Councilman Greg Alderman took the oath of office as Wardensville’s new mayor on Monday, April 10. The oath was administered by Councilwoman Grace Garrett at the regular meeting of the council.
Alderman has served on the Wardensville Council since 2012. He works for Hinkle-Harris, a manufacturer of reproduction furniture.
Alderman said he knows there are significant challenges in Wardensville. “God will work through me and the council to solve them,” he said.
With Alderman’s appointment as mayor, the council is once again short a council position as well as a recorder. “We are taking applications and hope someone will step up,” Alderman said.
[private] Alderman replaces Barbara Ratcliff, who resigned last month. Both Ratcliff and Wardensville Recorder Jon Crowe resigned after council voted to hold efforts to turn operations of the town’s water and sewer systems over to the Hardy County Public Service District.
Sewer System Evaluation
The council heard from Bill Keaton, director of Municipal Services with L. A. Gates Company of Beckley.
Keaton presented an evaluation of the town’s sewer system. “Terry Lively of Region 8 suggested we get an outside engineering firm to evaluation our system,” said Public Works Director Erich Atkinson.
Keaton said L. A. Gates was a small company that specializes in wastewater treatment plants. He offered an optimistic evaluation of Wardensville’s system.
“Your treatment plant is suitable and viable for a town of this size,” he said. “The plant can handle about 140,000 gallons per day and you are looking at between 40,000 and 60,000 per day, so you’re right in the middle.”
Keaton said the lagoon systems are the most economical to operate, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection supports the operation of lagoon wastewater treatment plants. “Don’t let anyone tell you DEP is closing all the lagoons in West Virginia,” he said.
Keaton confirmed that certain changes need to be done in Wardensville to conform with the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
“The first thing you need is a dissolved oxygen meter,” Keaton said. “They cost between $500 and $700, but they will help save you money on electricity.
“A DO meter will tell you when and how long you have to run your aerators. Now you’re running them 24/7.
“You also need a new mechanically cleaned bar screen. A new one is between $60,000 and $70,000. To repair yours, if it’s possible, will cost between $10,000 and $20,000. I’m not sure if it can be repaired.
“Your chemical building needs to be replaced in the near future. You don’t have adequate ventilation and the chemicals have oxidized the building. It’s actually an OSHA violation.”
Keaton said the lagoon could be operated more efficiently with new and additional aerators. “The ones you have are very inefficient,” he said.
The lagoon solids should be removed every 5 – 10 years. Council and audience members thought the lagoon had never been cleaned.
“I recommend you clean it next year,” Keaton said. “Tucker County landfill will take the solids, but you have to dewater them, which will save you some money.”
Keaton said the biggest saving the town could realize would be from changing electrical service from single phase to three phase.
Council has heard this before recently.
“Your equipment will last longer and if you contact the power company and run your equipment on off-peak hours, you will save money too,” he said.
Keaton said it was always in a town’s best interest to keep control of their wastewater treatment facilities, but the environmental violations were “too many.” According to the evaluation submitted by L. A. Gates, Wardensville received 34 violations from WV DEP between August 2014 and August 2015.
“This is not an overnight thing,” Keaton said. “We need to alter some things and improve on some things to meet the requirements of the NPDE permit.”
Betsy Orndoff-Sayers asked Keaton about painting the town’s water tanks. The project is in process through Region 8 Planning and Development Council. It was estimated the project would cost approximately $700,000. “We’re hearing that cost is equivalent to the cost of a new tank,” Orndoff-Sayers said.
Keaton said he was not asked to evaluate the water system, but could do so. “It would cost approximately $2,000 to $3,000 to evaluate,” he said.
Town Clerk Theresa Ramsey said the sewer system evaluation was done without cost to the town. “An evaluation of this nature would have costs us around $14,000,” she said.
Atkinson said he followed the advice of Hardy County Public Service District and turned the aerators around. “They were going the wrong way,” he said.
There was considerable discussion regarding the need for a water and sewer rate increase and whether a Rule 42, accounting report was necessary.
Ramsey said the West Virginia Public Service Commission no longer performs rate analyses. “You must have it done by someone in town or a CPA,” she said.
“If we can work this out on our own, why would we pay someone?‚” Councilwoman Maureen Martin asked.
Councilman David Twedt moved the issue be tabled and that council look at how the process was done in the past. The motion was approved.
Atkinson also reported the Public Works Department is looking to install generator quick-connect equipment on the gym, lift stations, spring house and town hall. This would enable the portable generator to be used in the event of a power outage. “The gym can qualify as an emergency shelter in case of an emergency,” Atkinson said. “We have this portable generator, but we need the connections to be able to use it.”
The town received one bid on the quick-connect equipment. The amount is $14,200. The information was submitted to the Hardy County Office of Emergency Management in hopes grant funding is available.
Atkinson also requested funding to attend the Class I Water Certification Training and Testing. The cost is approximately $600 for lodging, meals and transportation.
Council approved the request.
Ed Klinovski reported the committee was raising funds for concrete planters to be placed around town. He has ordered 15 of the planters and will be talking to property owners about placement.
The containers will be owned and maintained by the town. They will not block the sidewalks or parking.
Fundraising efforts are ongoing.
Park and Pool
Councilwoman Grace Garrett reported a meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 17 at 6 p.m. for anyone interested in helping with the park or pool this year. “We need life guards,” she said.
A member of the audience asked if a regular date for clean-up could be established for the summer.
“If we knew it was the second Saturday or third Sunday, we would have a better turnout,” she said.
Garrett said it would be discussed at the meeting.
Garrett requested rechargeable batteries be purchased for the park security cameras. The cost is $125 for batteries and two chargers.
The council approved the request.
Councilwoman Martha Bradfield requested the following people be appointed to the Wardensville Development Authority:
Carolyn Conner, Bobby Jenks, Butch Miller, Judy Hahn and Luke Kesner. The council approved the appointments.
Ramsey reported continued vandalism in the men’s bathroom of the community center. “It’s like someone is grabbing the pipes and trying to pull them off the walls,” she said.
She suggested metal straps to secure the pipes to the wall.
Ramsey also reported the roof leaked during the recent snow.
“The roof has been repaired, but it is in terrible shape,” she said. “That roof will need to be redone soon.”
* The council approved a Fair Housing Resolution.
*Paperwork has been sent for the Governor‚Äôs Community Participation Grant reimbursement for the leak detector.
* The council will host a work session on Monday, May 1 at 7 p.m. at the Conference and Visitors Center. The public is invited to attend.
* The next regular meeting of the Wardensville Council will be held on Monday, May 8 beginning at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Conference and Visitor’s Center on Main Street. The public is invited to attend. [/private]