NEW HAVEN — A notice of violation, along with a hefty fine, has been received by the Town of New Haven, but the situation might not be as bleak as it appears, according to one council member.
Councilman Matt Shell stated at the most recent council meeting that the town received a 40-plus page violation notice from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The agency also fined the town a total of $221,350.
Shell said council members had not had the time to study the entire violation package, but some of the issues included not having an operator at the plant at all times, only having one operator, and various required testing results that were not turned in on time. The alleged violations occurred from 2017 through 2019.
The councilman explained that the town’s engineer, Amanda Sutphin of Chapman Technical Group, is writing the required reply and “plan of action” to the DEP. Once the reply is received, and the town shows it is complying in trying to fix the issues cited in the violations, it is likely the agency will lower the fine as it did once before.
The town was cited a few years ago and fined over $200,000, but that fine was lowered to $27,000. The town made payments, and finished paying the fine in full last year.
Councilman George Gibbs said the wastewater department needs much work. He added whoever is elected and takes office on July 1 needs to begin working immediately on a wastewater upgrade project, and possibly a new plant.
The council went into a 20-minute executive session for personnel directly after the meeting began. When members returned to regular session, they announced the violation and fine, as well as some immediate personnel changes.
Tyler Grimm, an operator-in-training, was removed as foreman of the labor crew in order to be able to devote more hours for training to become a certified operator. Cecil “Buzzy” Duncan, Jr. was hired as foreman. It was mentioned that Duncan was once a certified operator and is willing to take the necessary steps for recertification, which would eventually bring the number of town operators to two. Councilman Roy Grimm abstained from the vote.
In other action, the council:
Announced a grant for over $18,000 has been received for the municipal pool from the Claflin Foundation;
Has received one estimate for concrete work for the pool, and is waiting on additional estimates;
Approved a building permit for Steve Carpenter for the addition of a utility room; and,
Hired certified police officer Austen Toler to work one or two days per week, on an “as needed” basis.
Attending were Mayor Greg Kaylor, Recorder Roberta Hysell, and council members Grant Hysell, Steve Carpenter, Grimm, Gibbs, and Shell.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.