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County focuses on sewer service for Saluda area

by Tom Chillemi

Middlesex County only has a “general” plan for central sewer, said Middlesex County Administrator Charles Culley. Plans for the immediate future include sewer service to part of Saluda, and to extend sewer service to the Cooks Corner area and probably Christchurch School, he said.

The county is applying for a permit that would allow the proposed plant to go above 39,900 gallons per day (GPD) up to “hundreds of thousands of gallons,” said Culley. “We want to be able to expand the plant. If we need to double in size, we’ll be able to amend our permit.”

The DEQ requires higher treatment standards for effluent from plants that process more than 40,000 GPD. Even if the the first phase of the Saluda treatment plant processes less than the 39,900 GPD, the wastewater “will be treated to the limits of the higher standard,” Culley said.

The county bought about 30 acres between Saluda and Cooks Corner for the treatment plant. “We have enough land to combine the jail, Christchurch and Urbanna together” with Saluda, said Culley.

Developers of a proposed 85-lot subdivision “Stonebrook at the Courthouse” in Saluda have agreed to tie into the proposed Saluda treatment plant.

Bigger plants require more land and buffers. The old plant was planned for a small parcel next to the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and did not have enough room to expand.

Sewer study

About 12 years ago, a sewer study determined that laying sewer lines in Deltaville was not feasible, said Culley, because the population is so spread out. There would be long pipe runs with few customers.

Culley said it’s hard to collect wastewater due to the need for a vacuum or forced main to pull or push the wastewater, he said. “It’s very expensive to deal with sewer anywhere. But when you get down there (Deltaville) with long pipe runs, it’s a big system.

“I don’t see where the dollars are coming from” for a collection system in Deltaville, said Culley.

Culley noted sewage plants are modular and are relatively easy to build.

The mid-1990s study found that about seven marinas on Broad Creek in Deltaville could tie together for central sewer service. However, four or five marinas have individual treatment plants and declined to tie together, said Culley.

“There has not been a lot of requests coming from that area (Deltaville) for sewer,” said Culley, who added that one reason could be that central sewer would make it easier to develop land.

At its September meeting, the Middlesex Planning Commission discussed the issue of requiring central sewer in new subdivisions that are zoned Village Community. Chairman John England commented, “It is the job of the county to figure out what we are doing with central sewer and central water. Where do we want it?”

posted 10.23.2008

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