Marlinton Mayor’s Corner

By now, anyone reading Marlinton Town Council news is aware of the discussions regarding sewer system violations, and the proposal to hire a consultant to evaluate upgrade of the entire system and treatment facility.

Four years and two Department of Environmental Protection consent orders later, I am again making citizens aware that, while everything else has been going on, the Town crew and I have been making strides, dealing with the demands of correcting violations and coming up with a plan-of-corrective action.

This week is an update of the status of the Town of Marlinton’s proposed plan-of-corrective-action. Simply put, after two rewrites over six months, the plan was denied. Mainly because of no timeline.

However, many of the violations that were minor – cutting of brush, mowing of grass, more attention to cleaning of bar-screen and the like – have been taken care of.

Other issues that address DEP treatment standards cannot be obtained on a consistent basis using the current system.

A plan-of-corrective action, acceptable to DEP, must include timelines for professional evaluation. The Town will entertain all reasonable recommendations. My hope is that residents will understand that we/the Town have worked toward correcting these several violations, doing everything we can, short of spending several millions of dollars.

Other violations lie between minor and major.

For instance, the Town’s sewer plant has experienced electrical issues, resulting in insufficient power to the third aerator. An estimate for repairs was just under $20,000.

So, we are ordering and making the repairs in-house for about half of the contractor’s estimate. Now, we have one of the two remaining aerators down for repairs. This fix will be another large repair bill for the rewinding of a 10-HP motor.

These issues could not have happened at a worse time.

In the summer, an insufficiently mixed and aerated lagoon is susceptible to blooms of blue-green algae. When coming toward town off Price Hill, you may have noticed our green ponds. This is a problem.

Lagoon cyanobacteria can cause a thick scum on the surface of the water.

During the summer, the combination of sunlight, warm water temperatures and high nutrient loads can lead to rampant algal growth, or blooms. This condition has contributed to the lagoon smell that had been absent for three years.

Rest assured, in addressing these problems, we are always mindful of cost and will only commit to repairs or recommendations we can afford. But these necessary repairs must be made.

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