Sewer project could continue despite W.Va. Governor's order to h - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Sewer project could continue despite W.Va. Governor's order to halt

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MINDEN, W.Va. (WVVA) Just days after West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice ordered a halt to the sewer project at the center of a political firestorm, WVVA News has learned construction on the 24 million dollar project may still continue. 

The sewer line's future hangs on a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expected by the end of February. 

As they await the report, some Minden residents were cautiously optimistic on Tuesday following the governor's decision. Their hope is that Minden will be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL), which would open up the area to relocation assistance. 

"We are very thankful to Governor Justice for this. I think he sees now how we have been wronged from the EPA trying to fix things when they just keep blotching things," said resident Susie Jenkins-Worley. 

Meanwhile, Oak Hill City Mgr. Bill Hannabass is not sure residents have science on their side when it comes to Minden being placed on the NPL. Between the city and the contractors, he said they have conducted more than 160 sampling tests in the area and all of them have come back PCB negative. 

In fact, Hannabass claims much of the pollution residents are complaining about is not coming from PCB dump sites, but pollution in Arbuckle Creek that the project would help fix. 

"There's so much pollution in Arbuckle Creek. It's one of the worst polluters of the New River. That holds you back in a number of different ways, but number one it leads to unsanitary conditions." 

For now, Hannabass said Oak Hill is abiding by the governor's order not to install the main line, but crews are continuing to work on other parts of the project. 

"The project will improve some of the conditions being complained about. But the city of Oak Hill and sanitary board want to improve the area and that's the bottom line." 

If the EPA does place Minden on the NPL, Hannabass said the contractors will find a way to work around. 

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