Oak Hill Sewer Project Addressing PCB Risk

OAK HILL- The construction of the Oak Hill Sanitary Board’s $23 million sewer project will be conducted to avoid disturbing soils with high PCB levels.

Recently, the U.S. EPA took 88 soil and water samples in the Minden area, looking for the concentration level of a group of chemicals called Polychlorinated Biphenyls (“PCBs”), a cancer-causing substance. EPA found that two of the soil samples in the Minden area tested slightly above the one part per million (“ppm”) residential clean up level, at 1.2 and 1.3 ppm. Two Arbuckle Creek sediment samples measured 50 and 6.2 ppm.

The Sanitary Board’s $23 million project includes construction of a $760,000 force main from the former Arbuckle Public Service District sewer plant in Minden, which the City of Oak Hill now owns and operates, to Oak Hill’s existing Minden Road sewer plant.

“EPA has been very cooperative with the Sanitary Board and its engineers,” said Oak Hill City Manager and Sanitary Board Member, Bill Hannabass. “EPA has provided us with detailed information on the locations of itsrecent samples and the results from each location. We are comparing that data to our construction plans. We will conduct our own sampling and testing at points along the center line of our sewer main. If we find that our construction route will go through areas with PCB concentrations above the risk level, we will consider making a modification to the route, or utilizing construction practices that avoid soil disturbances, such as using directional drilling instead of conventional open trenching,” stated Hannabass.

“I am very confident we can successfully work around this problem,” continued Hannabass. “Our project will greatly benefit the local environment by decommissioning the former Arbuckle PSD sewer plant, which has a long record of discharge violations, and upgrading the city’s two treatment plants to handle increased volumes and provide better treatment.”

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