Residents voice concerns about waste water issues

MILL CREEK – Concerned citizens attended the Huttonsville Public Service District’s Board of Directors meeting Thursday saying the state should get involved in the waste water issues in Valley Bend and Dailey.

Residents Bob Scott and Bob Phillips offered opinions on what type of solution they feel would help drain some of the overflow off residential property. Some residents have complained of sewage and waste water surfacing in their yards.

Phillips pointed out ditches were previously used in Valley Bend that drained into a natural water source.

“I was thinking… if I go and walk down to the state road (building) and talk to them, they’re going to laugh at us,” Phillips said. “But you all are the Public Service District and all the money that has been spent by the federal government (through the Homestead Act), they don’t want to see you fail either. If you all could work out something with Lynn Phillips (a representative of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office) maybe there’s a possibility that you could get those drains opened back up.”

Huttonsville PSD Board Chair Steve Wamsley acknowledged there is a problem.

“We know that this is an issue, but coming up with a solution is the hard part,” he said. “Before I was on this board I was one of those people who turned on the faucet and expected the water to be there. But it requires money, and work and cooperation to get these things done.”

Wamsley acknowledged he and the Board of Directors appreciated the public support and were willing to consider any solution brought to them.

The Huttonsville PSD received an ordinance on March 6 to install a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) system that will drain much of the surface waste water left over from excessive rains, chlorinate the water and then deposit it in the river.

During the meeting, residents asked how the SSO would be funded. Louise McAtee, the general manager of the Huttonsville PSD, said the Board of Directors was looking at the option of paying for the system with left-over money from a recent sewer project, but nothing is official at this time.

On March 11, more than 50 residents of the affected area attended a public meeting at the Dailey Fire Hall to express their concerns regarding the contamination of the waste water going through the SSO system. On March 21, the Huttonsville PSD responded by reporting to The Inter-Mountain the waste water would contain contamination levels consistent with that of rain water.

Valley Head resident Andy Wamsley, a former Randolph County commissioner, and his wife, Janice, have said they attribute damage to their property and the death of some of their livestock to exposure to raw sewage.

Wamsley raised his concerns to the Huttonsville PSD in September, asking for a solution to the problem. He wrote in a letter to the PSD that after the area received two rains and about four to five inches of water he noticed sewage was overflowing from the pipes leading from the pump on his property.

The Wamsleys and other residents, including Sue Hinzman of Valley Head, are acquiring signatures and support for two documents. The first is a letter asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to prevent the DEP and Huttonsville PSD from draining the waste water into the Tygart River. The second is a petition to file a civil lawsuit against the Huttonsville PSD for damages to residents’ property.

The Huttonsville PSD will next meet at 10 a.m. April 10.

Contact Chad Clem by email at