Matoaka sewage and water treatment plant

MATOAKA — Work continues on taking over a town’s sewage plant and wastewater treatment system while preparing the way for a new wastewater treatment plant that would serve several of Mercer County’s smaller communities.

Members of the Mercer County Commission and the new Mercer County Public Service District met this week with members of the Matoaka Town Council. Town of Matoaka residents voted last year to disincorporate the town, but the council has been working to settle the town’s obligations, according to County Commissioner Bill Archer.

The county commission has been working to set up new utility billing for Matoaka’s residents, he said.

“(County Administrator) Vicky Reed has already been in contact with West Virginia American Water,” Archer stated Thursday. “The new public service district wants West Virginia American Water to take over the billing for the sewage treatment. They do that (billing for other entities). The water company has no interest in operating that plant, but they work with entities the provide water like the Princeton Public Service District. They send the sanitary board letters with the water bills for a fee that’s reasonable.”

“The second chore for us will be to take that information and generate letters to all the current West Virginia American Water customers that were previously served by the Matoaka water system,” Archer said. “Those letters will state that the new Mercer County PSD will take over operations on Aug.1, 2019.”

The new county PSD is also working to assume responsibility for Matoaka’s other utilities.

“And the third responsibility for the commission is to generate the document that will allow the town of Matoaka to transfer ownership of the sewage treatment plant and the wastewater collection system to the Mercer County PSD,” Archer said. “Those are the action items that we need to do within the next week or so. The PSD is already working on it what it needs to do to make immediate repairs on the treatment facility and on the collection system. The county PSD has a larger plan in the works to locate a larger wastewater treatment facility in an area that could serve hundreds of customers in the Matoaka area and surrounding communities as well as Lashmeet and Lake Bottom.”

Money for these repairs and a new wastewater treatment plant could come from the Abandon Mine Lands, a federal program administered by the state, he said.

“Since Matoaka is mining land and many other communities were mining communities like Hiawatha and Arista, Mary’s Branch, Giato as well as communities surrounding Lashmeet, they may be eligible for Abandoned Mine Lands funding,” Archer stated.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com