An inspector from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection agency notified the City of Parsons that their backwash pond at the water treatment facility violated state code.
This news was presented and discussed by Parsons City Council at their meeting on Tuesday, April 3.
The city is required to clean out the sedimentation basin. In order to do so, the basin is drained, which dumps approximately 275,000 gallons of water into the backwash pond. “The backwash pond is only capable of handling around 30,000 gallons of discharge per day,” Commissioner Tim Auvil said.
During the last discharge, a report was made to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The city violated code because of the quantity of discharge, despite the plant receiving annual inspections.
Water flowed over the pond and down the hillside near the billboards on Route 219. The exact number of times water overflowed the pond is unknown, but each time the basin was drained, water would flow over the lip of the backwash pond. This water eventually flows to the Shavers Fork River.
A chemical coagulant, DelPAC, was in the overflowing water. DelPAC is a polyaluminum chloride solution. DelPAC’s affect on a water source is unclear, but the manufacturer’s safety sheet states, “Environmental Precautions: Do not release into sewers or waterways.”
Expanding the backwash pond is required to agree with to state code. The size of the expansion is unclear, but the pond may need to be expanded upwards of 10 times its current size. Property lines may be an issue in expanding the pond, so the council discussed ways to expedite a purchase.
In 1996, the city hired Thrasher Engineering to build the basin. “Whoever designed the plant to begin with 22 years ago messed up big time, because they didn’t make the pond large enough,” Auvil said.
Thrasher Engineering was contacted to expand the pond.