The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

December 24, 2012

Oak Hill sewer closer to completion

OAK HILL — Town officials are getting closer and closer to an understanding of Oak Hill's aging sewer system and how it might one day be improved, thanks to a study of the system by an outside consultant.

The Inflow & Infiltration study, part of a much larger $14 million sewer improvement project aimed at cleaning up the New River, is now three-quarters complete.

Oak Hill’s sewer system works well under normal circumstances, but during heavy rains, storm water gets into the system through breaks in lines, manholes, and illegal connections to gutter downspouts. The wastewater overloads the city’s sewage collection and treatment system and overflows into Arbuckle and Loop creeks, which feed the New River.

Known as “inflow and infiltration,” or “I&I,” this phenomenon is most often caused by aging infrastructure that needs maintenance and repair.

The purpose of the study is to identify deficiencies in the system in order to develop a rehabilitation project for the areas of critical concern. It will also provide data so that city officials can undertake long-term planning. When the project is complete, the sewer system will be mapped in the city's new GIS system.

“This is going to go a long way in mapping our sewer system. We don’t have a good grasp of what all is out there in the ground,” said Oak Hill City Manager Bill Hannabass when the project was launched earlier this year. “It’s going to give me a tool to plan better to not only operate the system but maintain the system.”

Pentree Engineering, which is undertaking the study, reports that the existing system is “in typical condition for a municipality such as Oak Hill. Much of the old system has the normal deficiencies found in gravity collection networks.”

“Leaking structures, root penetration, corrosion, erosion, concrete deterioration are prevalent throughout the network. There was also evidence found of backups due to sagging  lines and lack of proper design effort. There are portions of pipeline laid on top of the ground.”

Pentree employees have been searching for the city’s 882 manholes, but that can be difficult given the system's age. Some have been buried or paved over. The rights of ways are often blocked by trees, brush, and thick undergrowth.

So far, surveyors have located 555 of the manholes.

Five flow meters are also set up and monitoring the sewage collection system. Flow metering will continue through 2013.

The New River Clean Water Alliance, a grassroots group of locals working on water quality in the region, just wrapped up a water monitoring project in Arbuckle Creek — with monitoring points above and below wastewater plants — to better understand where fecal coliform pollution is coming from in the creek. Arbuckle Creek is a major source of pollution in the New River, according to a report released by the group last year.

— E-mail:


Text Only
Latest News
  • Saints 1 VIDEO: Greenbrier ready for Saints

    The goal posts are up. The lines are on the field. The closets are stocked with Gatorade and the pads and helmets are hanging in the lockers.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • W.Va. health officials find clinic reused its needles

    Health officials on Monday advised patients of a West Virginia pain management clinic to be tested for blood-borne infectious diseases after an investigation found that needles had been reused.

    July 22, 2014

  • Auto Fair winner Auto Fair attracts 15,000 visitors despite cool weather

    Although Mother Nature fast-forwarded to September temperatures throughout the weekend of the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, thousands of people came out to see the show and support the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • TWV raises $1,700 for Just For Kids

    Theatre West Virginia provides the southern part of the Mountain State an opportunity to see live, outdoor dramas, but this year, it’s giving back even more.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVDA expanding Hemlock Woolly Adelgid program

    Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick has announced that the West Virginia Department of Agriculture's (WVDA) Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) Program has expanded to include all counties currently infested with HWA.

    July 21, 2014

  • Two in custody after allegedly beating Whitesville man

    Two men remained in Southern Regional Jail Monday morning after they allegedly beat up another man in his home in Whitesville. The West Virginia State Police would not release the name of the victim, who came to Raleigh General Hospital on his own.

    July 21, 2014

  • Impersonating an officer

    More details emerged Sunday from the Mercer County Sheriff Department’s investigation into a male subject who used a blue, bubble-style dash light to initiate a traffic stop of a female driver Friday night on Route 20 near Athens.

    July 21, 2014

  • 'Ghost murals' being restored across Appalachia

    Coca-Cola Consolidated is working across Appalachia to restore “ghost murals.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Kids Take Nashville Stanaford girl sings for ‘Kids Take Nashville’ CD

    A Raleigh County girl has gone Nashville, and she’s asking West Virginians to show the Mountaineer Spirit by helping her win the 2014 Gospel Artist award and the Young Guns/Horizon Award 2014 at Clay’s Country Radio.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Biscuits 1 Cooked fresh: Carolina man makes biscuits for campers at Lake Stephens

    Campers who awaken at the Lake Stephens Campground may think they’re still dreaming when they smell biscuits baking on weekend mornings. But they aren’t. Thanks to one adventurous culinary camper, fresh biscuits beside the water are becoming a staple.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos