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Pine Grove Struggles With Sewage System

By Staff | Jul 6, 2017

Residents of Pine Grove have been struggling with completing everyday tasks — such as laundry and dishwashing — due to ongoing issues with the town’s sewage system.

Just a little over two weeks ago, residents were asked not to flush their toilets due to a broken pump on the town’s sewage system.

Mayor Barbara King had reported to the Wetzel Chronicle that several issues were discovered while trying to repair the pump problem. The main issue dealt with items found in the waste pits at the “vac plant.”

“There were things that are certainly not supposed to be in toilets, or water lines,” King had remarked to the Wetzel Chronicle.

Though residents aren’t angry with town officials, they are very much frustrated with the situation itself.

“There are several with sewage coming up in their homes. Sewage is coming up around their pits, and it’s just been a horrible two weeks,” one resident noted.

All residents agreed that the smell is awful.

“The smell is unreal The smell is unreal that is coming up in peoples’ homes and basements and yards We have smelled sewage for two weeks solid.”

Another resident noted that he and his family have driven to New Martinsville, practically everyday for the past two weeks, to not only get food to eat, but to escape the problem and the smell.

“Last night we went to New Martinsville and got a pizza. The pizza was still warm when we got home, and as we were walking into the house we were talking about that, how it was still warm and smelled good As soon as we walked in the house, we went from smelling pizza to an outhouse.”

The resident said that there was “no more than 20 gallons” of sewage in the downstairs of his home. He said he had recently covered the drains in the downstairs, “but it wasn’t enough to stop it.”

“Our house smells like a swimming pool now,” he described, explaining he had used Clorox to clean up the mess.

“We are the end of our section of sewer line, and I guess we are lower than everyone else. Every time somebody else flushes, it goes towards us.”

“We don’t use the system,” he said. He said though residents have been told to use the system, albeit limitedly, “People are going to hit it full tilt They are thinking ‘It isn’t affecting me,’ and in the meantime, it’s coming into my basement.”

“We haven’t been able to flush and bathe. We wash our hair with a bucket on the porch,” the gentleman said.

It was noted by residents that some of their fellow neighbors have rented portable toilets.

One resident expressed how the town would benefit from outside help.

“We have a lot of people that need water,” she said. “People around here will not use the town water. The town water and the sewage are two different things, but we’ve had issues with the water getting brown, but that’s been taken care of. We’ve had trouble.”

The resident said that an individual from over the hill, in Hundred, did collect donations from the Town of Hundred, to help Pine Grove.

She noted that another company did bring cases of bottled water.

She credited Mayor King and Councilwoman Figler for their help.

“They have taken water and stuff to individuals, especially if they have children.”

“We all appreciate that. Cindy (Figler) and Barbara (King) and Rhonda, the city recorder They are all doing a great job.

“It’s just the fact it’s not fixed,” she said.

“The whole town is very frustrated about it all. They don’t know if, in the beginning, if the system was sabotaged. They don’t know who was putting things down the pits at the sewage area.”

The gentleman resident, the Chronicle spoke to, agreed.

“The system was old and not functioning well beforehand,” he said.

“Everything went south, and then all the stuff they found There was a lot of debris going into the pump, messing up the pump mop heads and clothes and canning lid jars Each time this stuff would come up against the pump, it’d tear it up.

The gentleman noted that town officials “are doing everything they can.”

“It’s just a perfect storm of problems,” he said.

Mayor King previously expressed town officials’ gratitude to residents, for their cooperation, along with companies and organizations that have offered a helping hand.

“We’ve had a lot of people that have called and offered ideas, and we’ve had companies that have called us, and we’ve had people that are looking for pumps for us.”

“Employees have been working long hours, and we’ve had people from the community that have been helping the workers. We’ve had electricians that have been helping, and other engineers are coming to offer advice, free of charge.”

“It’s just been time-consuming,” King said.

On June 30, Pine Grove officials stated that electrical work had been finished at the sewage plant, and “the pump is in and running.” Officials thanked Mark West, Erb Electric, Energy Transport, RDR Energy, and Gumps Septic, along with two gentleman by the name of “Bill Williams.”

Credit was also given to Town Recorder Rhonda Spencer and Councilwoman Cindy Figler.

Residents were asked to conserve water as the pump would have to be operated manually until another part arrives.

“Laundry can be done, but please just two loads a day,” residents were urged.

On the morning of July 6, residents were told that additional electrical wiring is being completed at the sewer plant, and “a new motor is being wired in at the water plant.” The town is currently waiting for a leveling sensor for the pump at the sewer plant, “so the operator is still having to run the pump manually.”

“Please bear with us, because we are in this together, and we should come out in better shape in the long run,” Pine Grove officials stated via the official “Town of Pine Grove” Facebook page.

Residents were asked to still conserve water and only complete two loads of laundry again. They were told that if their water appears murky, it is because of the motor work.

“Just a reminder, try not to run our hot water, or you will have to drain your hot water heater.”

Town officials stressed to not do more than two loads of laundry a day, so “your neighbors (living at the lower part of town) do not have sewer coming into their basements and toilets.”

Elected council member Richard Price has also encouraged fellow residents through the recent trials.

“Your willingness to make sacrifices and help during this period of crisis shows your love of our little town.”

Price complimented King and Recorder Rhonda Spencer as well. Price thanked Spencer “for using her contacts and connections to make things go as fast as possible and being there to help support Barbara.”