Officials continue to assess damage at Pulp Mill Bottom Dike
Parsons – Recently Jason Myers, Parsons’ city manager, was made aware of undercuts at the bottom of the dike in Pulp Mill Bottom.
Workers trimming the vegetation growing out of the dike discovered the undercuts and brought them to Myers’ attention. Since then, Myers has been reaching out to any and all federal and state agencies that could possibly help the city get the dike fixed. At this time no current cost estimates for repairs are even available.
A press conference was held Monday, July 28 at the dike so Parsons City Council members, Mayor Judy and the Tucker County Commissioners could become more informed and also be available for questioning by the media.
Initially, ownership of the dam had to be determined as it is on property originally owned by Foster Mullenex. The dam was constructed nearly 30 years ago between November 1985 and January 1986. Myers was able to do research and determined the dike is owned by the City of Parsons. The original hope was the dike was owned, and the financial responsibility of, the Army Corps of Engineers, but unfortunately it isn’t.
Army Corps of Engineers’ regulations whenever a stream is involved must be observed when surveying, much less repairing, the dike. However, the dike is classified as a diversionary wall, not as a flood control structure by the Army Corps of Engineers, with whom another involved agency, the West Virginia Soil Conservation must partner.
Commissioner Rosenau spoke passionately that he feels the dike not only needs repaired immediately, but should also be raised two feet to provide better protection for the City of Parsons. Commissioner Rosenau stated that this should be brought to the attention of the engineer who inspects the dike, to aid in cost projections for not only repair but improvements such as evaluation of raising other potential low areas. He also stated the improvement should be looked at in light of the potential improvement in flood insurance rates currently being paid.
Myers contacted the West Virginia Soil Conservation Agency who sent an urgent appeal to Governor Tomblin requesting funding assistance. The Army Corps of Engineers is sending an engineer to survey the damage and make recommendations on repairing the dike. Unfortunately the response from the State was there are no funds available at this time to help the City of Parsons do anything to the dike. However, all possible avenues of assistance are being pursued diligently by Parsons’ city manager, Jason Myers.