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EPA in West Virginia

Sewer Project Remedies ‘Third World’ Conditions

Stories of Progress in Achieving Healthy Waters

U.S. EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division

Crown, West Virginia • March 3, 2016

An EPA-funded project to process sewage from homes on a West Virginia hillside has resolved what a county health department report described as “Third World” conditions caused by failing or non-existent on-site systems to manage human waste.

More than 40 homes in a neighborhood of Crown, WV, are now tied to a common sewage collection and treatment system. For years, raw sewage from the homes had regularly ponded in yards and flowed into roadside ditches and nearby streams.

A report by the Monongalia County Health Department described the situation as a “public health crisis.”

“From the stench in the summer heat and humidity to the solids flowing through the street drainage ditches and back yards, the residences of this community are living in an atmosphere of continuous exposure to disease and unsanitary conditions that … parallel the sanitary conditions in Third World countries,” the report stated.

“The conditions were bad in the community,” said Eric Sherrard, project manager for the company that constructed the new system, Thrasher Engineering. “The unsanitary environment was noticeable during the design.”

The project included 4,400 Linear Feet (LF) of gravity sewer pipe, 550 LF of force main, 15 manholes, and a 12,000 gallons per day “package plant,” consisting of three 5,000 gallon community septic tanks discharging to 44 recirculating sand filters, with a drip irrigation sub-surface discharge.

The work was financed with $1.57 million from EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The CWSRF funds were applied by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection as a “Green” Debt Forgiveness Grant from the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund. The Monongalia County Commission provided $10,000.

Jeremy King, director of the Greater Paw Paw Sanitary District, said his office checks on the site twice a week and a contractor pays weekly visits to ensure operations are running smoothly.

A map of West Virginia highlighting the location of Crown

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  • Sewer Project Remedies ‘Third World’ Conditions (PDF)(1 pg, 551 K, 03/03/2016)
    An EPA-funded project to process sewage from homes on a West Virginia hillside has resolved what a county health department report described as “Third World” conditions caused by failing or non-existent on-site systems to manage human waste.