Applicants Wanted: Library Board Vacancy

Council will soon fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library. This is not a City of Elkins board, but the Elkins council has appointment authority for three of the five seats. City residents who wish to be considered for appointment to this important volunteer position are encouraged to submit an application to the city clerk no later than Friday, May 13.

What the Board Does

The Board of Trustees of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library sets policy for the library, oversees the library’s finances, and supervises the library’s executive director. The Elkins-Randolph County Public Library is in a period of dynamic change, opening a new branch in Beverly even as it works to recover from catastrophic flooding at the Elkins branch.

Membership

There are five seats on the board, three of which must be Elkins residents appointed by city council. Members are appointed to five-year terms; membership is unpaid.

Meeting Times

The regular meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library are second Wednesdays of every other month. During the months when an official meeting is not scheduled, members convene convene for planning purposes and the board may also hold other meetings from time to time as needed.

While the Elkins branch is being renovated, meetings are held at 209 Randolph Avenue (the former T.R. Ross Law Office).

More Information

Visit the library’s website for more information.

To Apply

Apply by downloading and completing this PDF application form. The form may be submitted to the city clerk’s office by email, mail, or hand delivery. Please ensure your application arrives no later than Friday, May 13.

5/3 Paving Plans (Tentative)

Today, Southern West Virginia Paving plans to mill Riverview Drive and the alley behind the YMCA. Milling might continue on 5th Street, between Davis Avenue and Railroad Avenue, time allowing.

The Southern West Virginia Paving Company’s blacktop plant has broken down. If it is put back online soon enough before rain starts, there might be time to pave Bridgewater and Riverview.

The map below indicates all planned paving work in Elkins for spring 2022.

More Information on Spring 2022 Paving

This month, Southern West Virginia Paving will be milling, paying, and/or apply overlay to certain streets and alleys in all five wards.

Sections of the following streets and alleys are scheduled for work this spring: South Davis Avenue, Riverview Drive, 13th Street, South Henry Avenue, Bridgewater Drive, Riverbend Drive, West Davis Street, South Earle Street, Chestnut Street, Wilson Street, Central Street, Woodford Drive, Fields Lane, Bruce Street, 1st Street, 5th Street, the alley behind the YMCA, and the t-shaped alley bounded by Boundary Avenue, Earle Street, Elm Street, and Guy Street. (Explore a map below, with purples lines indicating the streets where paving operations are planned.)

It is usually not practical to announce in advance which streets will be affected on which days, because work plans can shift on a dime in response to changing weather, contractor personnel and equipment availability, and breakdowns. Please keep an eye out for temporary “no parking” signs and monitor this site and our Facebook page. We will provide as much information as possible, as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and flexibility. (For more information about paving in Elkins, including how streets are selected, see this FAQ page.)

 

City Hall News: Week of May 2, 2022

Meeting next week are council’s Finance Committee and the Elkins Tree Board. Council meets Thursday. Overdue utility accounts must be brought up to date before Wednesday to avoid shutoff.

The Finance Committee meets Monday at 10 a.m. Agenda items include proposed FY 2023 budgets for the Elkins Fire Department (now being accounted for outside of the city’s General Fund), the Landfill Fund, and the Sanitation Fund. The committee will also review requested budget revisions; consider how best to fund needed repairs to the city-owned Seneca Mall Parking Lot and a project to build a pavilion at the Kump Education Center; and evaluate the proposed purchase of a new sanitation truck. Finally, the committee will also compare bids received for the city’s FY 2023 property and general liability insurance.

Meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Darden House, the Tree Board will discuss summer maintenance and watering at the city’s tree nursery and make plans for the United Way Day of Action (June 21). Old business items include tree tags at Glendale Park and prioritization of funds remaining in the FY 2022 budget.

Council meets Thursday at 7 p.m. The agenda may be adjusted through Tuesday. Current agenda items include final reading of an ordinance regulating parking in alleys, the appointment of Sam Severino to the Elkins Parks & Recreation Commission, an RFQ for streetscape conceptual design, and the consideration of an opioid agreement proposed by W. Va. Attorney General Patrick Morrissey.

All meetings are open to the public and, unless otherwise stated, held at Elkins City Call (401 Davis Avenue). Find agendas and other meeting information here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-and-committee-meetings.

Paving Work Starts Monday

It’s that time of year again!

On Monday, at 7 a.m., Southern West Virginia Paving will begin milling and paving in various areas in all five wards. Street Department personnel will post “no parking” notices on Sunday on the streets that will be affected first.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of this work and how often plans must change in response to weather and other factors, it is not possible for us to announce an overall schedule for this work.

Please keep an eye out for temporary “no parking” signs on Sunday. We will post updates with more detailed information as possible.

Follow this link for answers to frequently asked questions about street paving and patching in Elkins.

UPDATED: 2022 Street Sweeper Season Starts Monday

Last modified on May 4th, 2022 at 09:53 am

Update on 5/3: Please note two changes to the previously published schedule. Hampton Street has been moved Tuesdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Nathan Street has been moved to Wednesdays, 5 a.m.-8 a.m. The corrected schedule is available here.

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The 2022 street-sweeping season begins Monday, May 2. Starting May 23, Elkins police will ticket vehicles left parked on streets scheduled for street sweeping.

To reduce strain on the wastewater treatment plant and to maintain a visually attractive streetscape, the City of Elkins operates a street sweeper from late spring through early fall. Each year’s start and end dates are announced on this website, on the city’s Facebook page, and in local media outlets.

Elkins sweeps streets Monday-Friday during the spring, summer, and fall, visiting each street once per week. During the street sweeper’s operating season, city police will ticket vehicles left parked on streets scheduled for street sweeping. Please download and review the 2022 Street Sweeper Schedule to learn when you will need to move your car. You can also access an interactive map here. (Although the map is dated 2021, the street sweeper’s routes and schedule has not changed since then.)

Notification of cancelled street-sweeper runs will be issued when possible. However, when the sweeper route is cut short due to mechanical problems, inclement weather, operator emergencies, or other factors beyond our control, it is not always possible to issue such notifications. The best practice is establish a routine of  moving vehicles on the appointed day and continue that practice weekly until the end of sweeper season.

Contact the Operations Department’s administrative assistant with any questions.

Operations Administrative Assistant
Shanna Poe
spoe@cityofelkinswv.com
Phone: 304-636-1414, Ext. 1437
Fax: 304-635-7132
401 Davis Avenue, Elkins, WV, 26241

Water Plant Hosts Filtration Training

The Elkins Water Treatment Plant recently hosted a training session on membrane water filtration. The session, which was organized by the West Virginia Rural Water Association (WVRWA), was attended by water treatment operators from several counties as well as engineers from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. Elkins Chief Water Operator Wes Lambert and the rest of the water operators who staff the city’s plant helped provide hands-on training.

The city’s water treatment plant, which was put into service in 2017 after a $37 million construction project, uses membrane water filtration, as opposed to sand or media filtration. WVRWA convened its training session in Elkins for access to both one of the newest membrane-filtration systems in West Virginia and the knowledge and skills that Lambert and his staff have acquired while operating it.

“Wes and his team have always been open to share information about the membrane filtration technology that the Elkins Water Treatment Plant uses,” said Heather Somers, the WVRWA training specialist who facilitated the training session. “This hands-on training class was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate exactly how that technology works.”

Somers called the training a success and said she looks forward to future opportunities to host training at the Elkins plant.

“West Virginia Rural Water is thankful for the opportunity to facilitate this education opportunity in Elkins,” said Somers. “We’re always looking for ways to train the various professionals dedicated to providing safe drinking water in our state.  We hope to continue collaborative training efforts like this in the future.”

 

 

Illegally Dumped Diesel Fuel Found in Tygart River

Water operators contained a small amount of diesel fuel dumped by an unknown person

On Friday, city, county, and state officials responded to a report of an oily sheen in the Tygart River, near Fifteenth Street.

Elkins Water Board employees determined that the sheen was caused by a small amount of diesel fuel in the river. Water operators immediately took action to contain and neutralize the spill, then investigated for the source of the problem.

No ongoing source of contamination was found, and the facts of the situation are consistent with an unknown person having illegally dumped a limited amount of fuel into a nearby storm drain. The substance in question did not enter the city’s treatment system, and the city’s drinking water was unaffected.

Chief Water Operator Wes Lambert reminds the public that it is illegal to dispose of any substances down storm drains, and additional penalties apply for disposing of petroleum products this way. This is because most of the city’s storm drains empty directly into the river, with no treatment; whatever is poured down one of these drains will go directly into the water.

“The Tygart River is our drinking source water,” says Lambert. “We all must do everything we can to protect that water. That means not dumping anything at all down storm drains, and especially not hazardous waste like petroleum products. Dumping into the stormwater system or the river directly can also harm wildlife and cause problems with drains.”

According to the Randolph County Solid Waste Authority, petroleum products may be disposed of at either Advance Auto Parts or Auto Zone. Other auto-supply stores and service stations may also accept petroleum products for disposal.

Lambert urges the public to report any illegal dumping, signs of contamination (e.g., an oily sheen), or suspicious activity in and around city infrastructure facilities.

“If you see anything that concerns you about our water supply, the best thing to do is call 911,” says Lambert. “When it comes to our drinking water, I would rather be safe than sorry, and calling 911 is the best way to ensure the fastest possible response.”

City Hall News: Week of April 25, 2022

The only meeting scheduled for this week is that of council’s ad hoc Committee on Boards and Commissions. There will be Arbor Day observances on Friday and an Earth Day Celebration on Saturday.

The Committee on Boards and Commissions meets Wednesday at 9 a.m. This committee was formed to review city and state statutes establishing and regulating all city boards and commissions, as well as external boards and commissions to which the Elkins council has appointment authority. After this week’s review of the Elkins Water Board and the Board of Trustees of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library, the committee will have concluded its work and will be dissolved.

The Elkins Tree Board will commemorate Arbor Day at 2 p.m. on Friday at Glendale Park, near the Pollinator Alley area. At 5 p.m., a tree will be planted at Bluegrass Park by members of the Emma Scott Garden Club.

There will be an Earth Day Celebration at Elkins City Park on Saturday, 12-2 p.m. The event will feature crafting and other activities for children, informational displays, and interactive games. All events are free and will take place rain or shine.

First quarter business and occupation (B&O) tax returns are due by the end of the month.

All meetings are open to the public and, unless otherwise stated, held at Elkins City Call (401 Davis Avenue). Find agendas and other meeting information here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-and-committee-meetings.

New Loader Key to Wastewater Biosolids Program

With the delivery of a new piece of heavy equipment this week, the Elkins Wastewater Treatment Plant is positioned to continue and potentially expand a program through which sewage-treatment by-products are transformed into fertilizer for area farmers.

The approximately $100,000 purchase of a LiuGong 835H wheel loader was funded from the City of Elkins ARPA award. The new loader includes a Cummins engine and power-shift transmission, safety features such as a rearview camera and 309-degree panoramic view from the operator’s seat, and a fully sealing cab that will provide better protection against fumes generated during wastewater treatment.

The new loader, which replaced one that was four decades old, is crucial to the department’s biosolids program.

Biosolids, a semisolid, nutrient-rich substance also known as “sewage sludge,” are a product of the wastewater treatment process. Once sewage arrives at the plant through the pipes of the wastewater collection system, it passes through a series of steps that separate its liquid and solid components. The liquid components are purified before being released as surface water. The solid components are treated to produce biosolids, which may then be applied to qualifying agricultural land as fertilizer.

“We use belt presses and polymer chemistry to dewater the biosolids,” says Whitney Hymes, the chief wastewater operator for the Elkins Sanitary Board. “The conveyor system deposits the biosolids on the floor, and we use our front-loader to scoop it up and collect it.”

The next step in the process depends on the time of year.

“During the winter, we have to store it on site, but during warmer months we have local farmers who want to spread it on their fields,” says Hymes. “It’s extremely nutrient rich, with lots of nitrogen and phosphorous, so it makes excellent fertilizer. We had one farmer who told us he doubled his hay yield by using our biosolids.”

Land application of wastewater biosolids is highly regulated because the process that generates the biosolids can result in high concentrations of metals and other undesirable contaminants. Only biosolids meeting strict EPA standards may be used this way. The land where it will be applied must be evaluated, and laboratory employees at the wastewater treatment plant must carefully monitor pollutant and pathogen levels to ensure that each batch of biosolids is safe to use this way.

“Before we can apply the biosolids to any agricultural land, we have to take soil samples and make sure that, after application, the total metals and other pollutants in the soil won’t exceed federal limits,” says Hymes. “We come back and check quarterly to make sure everything is still within the required parameters.”

The Elkins Wastewater Treatment Plant biosolids program operates under a Class B license, which limits application to agricultural land only. Hymes is currently evaluating whether the city might shift to a Class A license.

“Under a Class A license,” Hymes explains, “we’d be operating a mill that transforms the biosolids into pellets, which we could sell to anyone who is interested, from farmers to home gardeners.”

Whether the program continues to operate under a Class B license or shifts to a Class A, the new loader will play a vital role for years to come. The Elkins Wastewater Treatment Plant generates 200-250 dry tons of biosolids each year, and the plant’s loader is in operation throughout most of each workday.

“We run our loader 5-6 hours a day, five days a week,” says Hymes. “That was a lot to ask of our old one, which was way overdue for replacement. I’m really pleased that we were able to make this purchase using ARPA funds to minimize the impact on our customers.”

WWTP employees receive training on their new wheel loader from a company representative.

A side view of the new loader.

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