The City of New Cumberland will pay $59,155 in fines to the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for violations that occurred in the operation of its sewage plant in 2018 and 2019.  Mayor Will White  signed the consent order with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) July  9 agreeing to pay the amount over a 12-month period.  White said the CCity has already made the first payment of $4,929.58

      The Consent Order cites four investigations that occurred over a two-year period whichand revealed multiple violations of State Code, Legislative Rules and the City’s WV/NPDES Permit.  According to the report the CCity also failed to provide written submissions of the incidents or call the spill hotline until directed  to do so by the DEP and thus endangered the health of the environment.

        WVDEP personnel met with New Cumberland representatives in January 2021 to discuss the terms and conditions of the Order and were required the City to submit financial documents so that DEP could perform an economic analysis to evaluate the CCity’s ability to pay a civil administrative penalty.  In April, DEP approved the CCity’s “Plan of Corrective Action” which included a schedule that outlined action items and completion dates for how and when it will achieve compliance with pertinent laws and rules will be achieved..

      In a letter to the DEP, former Mayor Dick Blackwell said “City leadership was repeatedly falsely assured that the matter was in hand.  The City has employed a reliable operator and has addressed all the matters at issue in a manner that protects public health and safety.”

      White said the City has made a change in personnel and Rick Ohalek has been brought in to manage the system.

         New Cumberland is slated to receive $2.1 million in grants and loans to update the antiquated sewer system.

      The Consent Order cites the following violations and dates when they occurred: 

      **August 6 1018 – An investigation by DEP was conducted in response to a complaint regarding a sewage spill on Morris St.  A representative of New Cumberland stated that the spill was the result of an electrical malfunction at the pump station 

           Violations were observed and documented and included  sewage which was overflowing from a pump station and entering a stormwater drop inlet, which ultimately discharged into the Ohio River.

      **Dec 7 2018 –  DEP again conducted an inspection and found a failure to properly operate and maintain the facility.   Specifically, three  of the six  pumps at the City Park pump station were inoperable which resulted in the release of raw sewage on Dec, 4, 2018.  The screw screen in the plant was cracked and inoperable and five of the 12 UV lights were not operable.  

      ** June 10, 2018 – WVDEP conducted an investigation of the facility and determined New Cumberland had failed to maintain the facility.   Again, three of the six pumps at the pump station were inoperable; the screw screen on the plant was cracked and inoperable; four of the `12 UV lights were not operating; and there were solids on the floor of the UV building.

     **Dec 13, 2019 – WVDEP conducted an investigation and determined the pumps at the City Park station were not operating.  Sanitary sewer overflow had discharged into the City Park and Morris St. pump station.  Evidence of sanitary sewer overflow included human waste, grease balls and rags indicative of untreated sewage.