The director of the Tennerton Public Service District said he hopes funds can be diverted to another project after its current plans were blocked Thursday when the Upshur County Commission balked at changing the boundaries of the agency.
The Tennerton PSD had planned on starting a $4 million sewer project in the Lorentz area by next spring. But shortly after doing the engineering work and securing the funding, officials soon learned that the territory of the project is part of the City of Buckhannon's jurisdiction because of a 1995 boundary adjustment that allowed the city service to extend to the Brushy Fork Road area. The adjustment took the city's reach to the Lewis County line, which Gould said was not known to the Tennerton PSD.
Gould said he hopes the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development leaders will see fit to divert the $4 million previously earmarked for the Lorentz project to one that will serve customers in the Hickory Flat area. That project, however, is estimated to cost about $300,000 more because of the need to install additional lift stations.
"We haven't lost anything, but nothing was gained," Gould said after the commissioners refused to entertain a motion to start the boundary adjustment process.
"What was lost was the opportunity for 140 people to have sewer service."
Gould said it has been the goal of the Tennerton PSD to clean up the environment, which he said his agency's proposed project would have accomplished.
"If you take 140 septic services out of the ground, you're cleaning up the environment," he said. "We will just move on to the other project, and it will be engineered to the funding we have."
Sam Ludlow, who oversees the sanitary sewer operations for Buckhannon, said a project is being planned for the Lorentz area, though it is only in the preliminary stages and is not expected to be as big as the one sought by the Tennerton PSD.
"We are more oriented to doing smaller projects," Ludlow said. "We are continuing to do the smaller projects. We have been very active out there, and we have done these projects with the expectation of continuing out there."