Friday, May 28
I made a site visit yesterday morning to Needy Road and Peruvian Paso Dr. in Berkeley County near the intersection with Van Clevesville Road. A resident notified me of some nasty water in the ephemeral stream behind their home, Evans Run watershed, which empties into a pond with outfall to the Opequon. After investigation, I traced this to a sewage spill (overflow) from the Yorkshire Glen subdivision pump station which normally connects to the Baker Heights facility. My understanding is utility work in the area asked to cut power in the vicinity including the pump station. When crews got the pumps back online, they apparently reversed the phasing on the motors causing the backup and overflow which ran for approximately three days.
WVDEP and the Sewer District have inspected. Cleanup crews with vacuum trucks cleaned up the area around the manhole where the overflow occurred. No remediation has taken place on private property. Conditions are pretty nasty.
June 4, 2021
Herb Peddicord with The Opequon Watershed, retired Chesapeake Bay forester, and I met on site with Rodney Hanes of the Sewer District today at noon. We inspected the site of the discharge. Some liming had been done around the manhole and Rodney indicated that the vacuum trucks were out twice on June 3, 2021, but there is no evidence of any remediation on private property below the crossing on Needy Road. The neighbors are getting more upset—raw sewage mixed with household chemicals fifty feet from their back decks.
Herb and I located the large pond on Salvation Drive that likely received the lion’s share of the runoff and inspected the outfall of the pond that leads to the Opequon. The quality of the flow is very suspect. We are arranging for water sampling at several locations by the laboratory at Shenandoah University.
June 7, 2021
Met on site at Needy Road with Karen Andersen of The Friends of the Shenandoah River to perform some E. coli testing particularly at the culvert on Needy Road, the area immediately behind the first house below the culvert, and the pond and its outfall to the Opequon. The pond would have received the lion’s share of the raw sewage.
More disturbing, during testing we discovered that pipeline construction crews were discharging horizontal drilling mud directly into the run. Photographs below. Reports were made to WVDEP, the Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District, and the Berkeley County Public Service Storm Water District. We will continue to follow enforcement actions against the contractor and clean up operations.
Images open in a lightbox.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Combined crews of both the Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District and Atlantic Construction, contractors for Mountaineer Gas, were on site attempting to clean the first 400 foot section of the run behind 929 Needy Road. A pump truck provided water to a pressure hose as workman had to sweep the creek with water and brooms. A vacuum tanker was setup at the first driveway crossing and culvert to pickup the waste water during the sluicing operation. Unfortunately contaminated sediment and water continued to flow downstream.
Water Quality Monitoring Station Data
Water Reporter map below shows water quality monitoring stations and data from June 7, 2021 testing by the Friends of the Shenandoah River and their lab at Shenandoah University are marked in red, as well as a layer for anecdotal posts documenting the sewage and drilling mud spill. E. coli counts behind 929 Needy Road exceeded 5000 MPN of colony forming units per 100 mL sample.