Brownell Drive and the lower field floodplain with water - June 23, 2016 (Millwood, WV)
On June 22, 2016, the West Virginia Public Service Commission approved the Cottageville Public Service District's sewer line (pressurized main) to come from Cottageville, WV and pass through Brownell Drive and a floodplain in Millwood, WV (Jackson County). The following day, June 23, 2016, a video was taken that shows what Brownell Drive and the lower field floodplain looked like after a hard rain. (This is the same storm that killed more than 20 people across West Virginia due to flash floods, but in Millwood, WV we didn't have near as much rain as several counties had).
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The following photos are printscreens taken from the video.
Location: Millwood, West Virginia (June 23, 2016). The Cottageville Public Service District's sewage treatment plant is shown near the left side of the top photo, and Brownell Drive is shown in the lower photo. The proposed sewer line is to go just to the right of the tree shown in the center of the top photo and proceed through the flooded area to the sewage treatment plant.
The water runoff can be seen going through the lower field. (It sort of looks like a creek, doesn't it?) The video was taken at least two hours after the heaviest rain had stopped. Water actually stands (pools) in the lower field floodplain for about 5 months each year, especially during the winter months. Although more serious flooding has been observed in this field in past years, this storm is the same one that caused the deaths of more than 20 people across West Virginia.
For about $25,000, the sewer line could have followed another route along Route 2 to Ripley Landing Road that would have been out of the floodplain and would have been acccessible via blacktop roads with relatively easy access 365 days a year in the event of a line breakage or leak. It is the opinion of some residents in Millwood, WV that this is a bad, bad choice for the routing of a pressurized sewer line main through this floodplain. Not only is this lower field a floodplain that can (and does) experience flooding from heavy rains, this lower field actually flooded from Ohio River backwater in 2004 and 2005 (and backwater can last "for days"). Yes, sometimes infrastructure such as sewer lines must go through floodplains, but in this case, only about 300 feet of sewer pipe would be needed to go the alternate route that would not be in a floodplain.
Coincidentally, the Cottageville Public Service District had a water line break in (or under) Millcreek in Cottageville, WV about two weeks ago. Hundreds of people in the Cottageville, Evergreen Hills, and Mount Alto areas had no city water for about 7 days. Now imagine how long it would have taken to repair the water line had the leak happened in the winter time with cold temperatures and with snow, ice, and soft mud in a creek bed? Now how long does one think that the residents of Cottageville (and future connection areas) could be without sewer service in the event that someday the sewer line breaks in the floodplain ..... with a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit, with 1 foot of water standing in the field covered with 2 inches of ice and an additional 5 inches of snow on top of the ice?
Please tell your friends and neighbors in West Virginia about this video.
For questions or comments, please call (304) 273-1020 during normal business hours.