Sewer project decision expected

NEW MANCHESTER – The Hancock County Public Service District expects to make a final decision on the scope of a new sanitary sewer project by July 22.

The project would extend sanitary sewer services to 208 customers on Westlake Lane, U.S. Route 30 from Taylor Road to the Pennsylvania line and a small section of state Route 8. However, many residents of Westlake Lane, a narrow, winding road in central Hancock County, say they’re happy with their septic systems and do not want sewer lines – nor the attendant costs.

At their regular meeting Thursday, district board members acknowledged receipt of a petition signed by Westlake Lane residents opposed to the project.

The board authorized project engineer Paul Ghosh of Paul Ghosh Engineers Inc. in Charleston to apply for a $600,000 loan from the Public Service Commission of West Virginia to pay for engineering, design work, aerial mapping, surveys and right-of-way acquisition.

Once the application is approved, the district will be able to make a decision on the scope of the project, including whether to include Westlake Lane, said district Treasurer Del Wright. Deadline for the application is March 20.

With a price tag of $8.2 million, the project would be funded by a combination of grants and low-interest loans from the state of West Virginia. The design phase is expected to take most of this year, and the permitting and bidding phase will take another year.

Actual construction is set to begin in 2015, and customers can expect to see a rate increase in early 2016.

The district provides sanitary sewer services to about 1,500 customers in unincorporated portions of Hancock County. Its last big project, completed in 2009, extended sewer lines to 674 customers along Route 8.