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The Indy Issue from Friday March 12, 2021



Visions of the Development of Salem

By Kevin Zorn

An oil on canvas mural is displayed in the post office in Salem, West Virginia. It was painted by an artist named Berni Glasgow and its production was funded
through the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture. It is titled “Visions of the Development of Salem” and depicts a group of people
receiving mail, in the background is a village and cattle.


Berni Glasgow was one of more than 800 artists commissioned to paint 1371 murals, the majority of which are featured in post offices.
Often mistaken as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) initiative, these Treasury funded murals were created with the intent of fostering i
nspiration in the American people who were still feeling the devastating economic and social effects of the Great Depression.


It is a testament to the shift in the ideological landscape today that I cannot believe the US Government, in tandem with local governments,
was capable of doing what the WPA accomplished. Yet, here are just some of the facts: from 1935 to 1943 8.5 million unemployed men and
women were hired by the government to build over 10,000 bridges, 620,000 miles of streets and roads, 40,000 new and 85,000 renovated
buildings including thousands of schools, gymnasiums, auditoriums, playgrounds, parks, libraries, college dormitories, tennis courts, and skating rinks.


The WPA employed artists, writers, historians, and musicians whose work directly affected the lives of millions of Americans during some of the
country’s most painful years. Musicians hired under the Federal Music Project taught free lessons to 132,000 children and adults every week.
Those hired in the Federal Writers’ Project, in addition to their popular state tourism guidebooks, recorded over 2,300 slave narratives -
an invaluable collection for scholars and historians. Under the Federal Theatre Project 1,000 plays were performed across the country every month.
Incalculable is the number of children and adults inspired by this work.


Through the colossal endeavors of the WPA in both its pre-war effort and its public projects America achieved full employment by 1942,
the same year “Visions” was painted in Salem.


It is clear that the America many of us grew up in, the structures that supported our lives, the parks we enjoyed, the schools we attended,
the infrastructure we relied upon for travel, even the art classes that inspired the next generation of creators was largely built under the
auspices of the WPA and the New Deal.


This is a salient reminder that capital “H” History is not simply a collection of memorized facts and figures, dates and obscure names.
No, History is alive in the communities in which we live. It not only teaches us, it haunts us as well. It haunts us with what was
possible before and what is possible tomorrow.


Perhaps that is the greatest battle waged in the spectacle of media and politics today - the question of what is possible.
Our expectations are managed lower and lower. We learn that the climate crisis is inevitable, that homelesness is natural,
that workers are essential until they ask for a living wage. All to say that change is impossible. Visions of better futures recede from view.

But history haunts us with an alternative. By the time Berni Glasgow painted the mural in the Salem post office, the American
government had provided millions of meaningful jobs improving, with concrete and paintbrushes, nearly every community across the nation.


Nick Taylor, the author of “American Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA”, writes this: 


“These ordinary men and women proved to be extraordinary beyond all expectation.
They were golden threads woven in the national fabric. In this, they shamed the political philosophy
that discounted their value and rewarded the one that placed its faith in them,
thus fulfilling the founding vision of a government by and for its people. All its people.” 


This weeks front page:



This is a presentation given by Steve Garvin at a Doddridge County Commissioners meeting. In it, he expressed concerns about the oil and gas industry in West Virginia and pushed for better identification systems of chemicals used by the gas and oil industry for the safety of the public and public officials.

Mr. William Goodwin, Superintendent

Clarksburg Sanitary Board

222 West Main Street

Clarksburg, WV 26301

Re: WV/NPDES Permit No. WV0023302 Accepting Oil and Gas Wastewater


Dear Mr. Goodwin:

This correspondence shall serve as the agency's formal response to your e-mail dated May 10, 2009 in which the Clarksburg Sanitary Board (CSB) requested information as to the requirements that would be imposed upon the CSB as a result of accepting oil and gas related wastewaters.



The USEPA and WVDEP discourages POTWs from accepting wastewater from oil and gas operations such as coal bed methane gas and marcellus shale wastewaters because these wastewaters essentially pass through sewage treatment plants and can cause inhibition and interference with treatment plant operations. The wastewaters from these types of operations contain high levels of chloride, dissolved solid, sulfate, and other pollutants. POTWs provide little to no treatment of these pollutants and could potentially lead to water quality issues in the receiving stream. The CSB discharges to the Monongahela River basin which nows into the State of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has recently experienced exceedances of water quality standards with respect to total dissolved solids and sulfate in the Monongahela River. Therefore, prior to accepting these types of vvastewaters, the CSB must evaluate and establish local limits accordingly. The agency strongly encourages the CSB to ensure that appropriate local limits be established to prevent inhibition, pass-through. and interference with all POTW operations. Prior to CSB issuing a permit for the acceptance of these wastewaters, the CSB must establish the appropriate local limits through a permit modification and adopt them into its sewer use ordinance. The following bullets list the agency's expectations and requirements that would be imposed, at a minimum, if the permittee decides to continue to pursue accepting oil and gas related wastewaters.


•The agency has determined that the following pollutants are pollutants of concern associated with oil and gas related wastewaters and may have a potential for inhibition, interference, and pass-through: total dissolved solids (TDS), sulfate, chloride, arsenic, titanium, cobalt, nickel, silver, zinc, vanadium, tin, cadmium, lead, chromium, hexavalent, chromium, copper, fluoranthene, cyanide, mercury, selenium, antimony, beryllium, barium, ammonia nitrogen, fluoride, nitrite nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, oil and grease, total suspended solids, iron, aluminum, chloroform, benzene, phthalate esters, strontium, strontium-90, boron, lithium, gross alpha radiation, gross beta radiation, radium 226 + radium 228.


•The CSB must conduct a head-works analysis and establish a Maximum Allowable Headworks Loading (MAHL) for the pollutants listed above. If the actual loading of any of the pollutants is more than 20% of MAHL, a local limit must be developed for the pollutant and adopted.


•Wastewater shall not be introduced or connected into the combined sewer at a point where there are CSOs between the introduction/connection point and the head-works.


•No pollutants can be introduced into a POTW (including the collection system) that can create a fire or explosion hazard. Wastewaters with a closed cup flashpoint of less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit using test methods specified in 40 CFR 261.21 of the code of federal regulations are prohibited from being introduced into POTWs. Due to the nature of the organic pollutants present in this nondomestic wastewater, the permittee must conduct thorough testing on this nondomestic wastewater to determine if it is permissible. Additionally, this should also be imposed as a limit in any permit issued by the City for this type of wastewater.


•No pollutants can be introduced into a POTW (including the collection system) which result in the presence of toxic gases, vapors, or fumes within the POTW in a quantity that may cause acute worker health and safety problems. Due to the nature of the organic pollutants present in this nondomestic wastewater, the permittee must evaluate the necessity of limitations to be protective of POTW workers. Information on this type of evaluation is available in an EPA guidance document entitled Guidance to Protect POTW Workers from Toxic and Reactive Gases and Vapors (EPA Document No. 812-B-92-001 issued June 1992).


•The acceptance of this wastewater during wet weather events shall not lead to increased wet weather discharges from CSOs.


•The agency will impose monitoring at Outfall 001 for the pollutants listed above.


•Due to issues with TDS and sulfate in the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania, the agency will impose limits for TDS and sulfate without the benefit of a mixing zone on Outfall 001 in order to be protective of Pennsylvania's water quality criteria.


•The agency will also impose effluent limitations for chronic toxicity, chloride, and possibly other pollutants.


•Technologically Enhanced, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and/or the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) per 60 CSR 23 of the West Virginia Legislative Rules. This regulation requires facilities accepting TENORM to be certified by either the WVDHHR or the NRC prior to acceptance. Further, TENORM includes requirements with respect to radioactive exposure levels that may need imposed as local limits and/or effluent limits to be protective of POTW workers and water quality standards. The permittee must coordinate with the NRC and/or WVDHHR to obtain any necessary approvals and provide its findings to the WVDEP.


If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact Netar (Nate) Wadhwa of our

office at 304-926-0499 extension 1013.



Scott G. Mandirola

Acting Director

Next, Garvin presented a Wikipedia article on the 2014 Elk River chemical spill.




Following are letters of support: