WV passes bill to pay for sewage plant upgrades
West Virginia wastewater treatment plants will be sending cleaner effluent down the Potomac River in coming years thanks to state legislation that will help pay to upgrade plants in the Bay watershed.
A bill approved by the state legislature and signed in April by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin sets aside $6 million of surplus state lottery funds annually for the next 30 years to fund $85 million in bonds that will help pay for upgrades.
Thirteen major wastewater treatment plants are in the eight Eastern Panhandle counties that drain into the Potomac, many of which have been experiencing rapid population growth, and several of the plants were facing large upgrade costs.
Upgrading the treatment plant for Martinsburg alone was expected to cost more than $40 million.
The bill, which was pushed by state Sen. Herb Snyder, is expected to help cover about 40 percent of the upgrade costs.
The upgrades are needed to meet requirements of the EPA's Bay cleanup plan that was unveiled in December.
Meeting the new EPA requirements was a big challenge facing the Eastern Panhandle, Tomblin said at a signing ceremony, "but now West Virginia can do its part to clean up Chesapeake Bay."
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