Bethany Council OKs purchase of flood insurance

BETHANY — Bethany Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to purchase insurance coverage for its wastewater treatment facilities, citing extensive damages sustained by them in 2004 and a more recent close call.

Council agreed to allocate $4,950 in its wastewater fund for three policies establishing an $8,500 deductible for any claims made through the National Flood Insurance Program for damages to three buildings near Buffalo Creek used in the town’s sewage treatment.

Mayor Pat Sutherland noted the facilities were severely damaged in the 2004 flood triggered by heavy rainfall spurred by Hurricane Ivan, and water from the creek nearly reached the facilities on July 29.

Sutherland said while equipment in the wastewater treatment system had been insured by the town, the buildings had not.

Without flood insurance, the town could expect to receive minimal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the event of future flood damage, he said.

Sutherland said the decision came after Cerrone and Associates, an engineering consultant, surveyed the area and presented three measures to prevent future flooding.

The mayor said one was extending the earthen dam created near the creek following the 2004 flood, but the engineers couldn’t be sure that it would be effective in holding back flood waters.

Ruled out because of their cost were the options of building walls around the 13 acres occupied by the town’s sewage sludge pond, estimated at $1 million, and the structure where ultraviolet rays are used to disinfect the sludge, estimated at $100,000.

Sutherland said the expense for insurance will further tighten the town’s sanitation budget but is worth the cost.

He said in an effort to deter future flooding, the state Conservation Service has been asked to check whether debris has built up in the creek.

Sutherland thanked Cerrone and Associates and the town’s sanitation staff for gathering the information needed for the insurance policy.

In other business:

— Councilwoman Sydma Hatzopoulos shared complaints from residents about the condition of sidewalks along West Drive that may be the result of truck traffic.

In related business, Sutherland said council has established a 50-50 sidewalk program to address sidewalks that present a tripping hazard to pedestrians. Residents with such sidewalks in front of their homes may seek to split the cost with the town in having those slabs replaced.

— Sutherland announced state Sens. Ryan Ferns, R-Wheeling, and Ryan Weld, R-Wellsburg, will be available to meet with the public from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Bethany Town Hall.

— Town Recorder Cindy Hoffman said alumni of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Bethany College have donated $1,500 to the town and she’s solicited ideas for the money’s use for consideration at next month’s council meeting.

— Bethany Fire Chief C.E. Schwertfeger said a first responder class will be held in the near future. He said it will cover cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid and other procedures and is open to the public. For information, call (304) 829-4504.

The department formed a first responder unit after disbanding its ambulance service due to lack of involvement attributed to the time required for training, recordkeeping and the medical transports themselves.

Schwertfeger also advised the state fire marshal’s office is prohibiting outdoor burning from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 31.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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