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Deltaville central water plan makes progress

County to loan MWA money

by Tom Chillemi

The search is on for a drinking water source for Deltaville.

On October 27 during a special called meeting, the Middlesex Water Authority (MWA) authorized a contract with Bowman Consulting Group of Williamsburg to determine if there are viable water sources to serve the Deltaville area.

The MWA also approved a “memorandum of understanding” with the Middlesex Board of Supervisors (BOS), which has agreed to loan the MWA money to get a central water system started in Deltaville.

The MWA is an “authority” and is a separate entity from the county.

Water sources
According to the memo, potential sources of water include:
  • Use of several smaller capacity wells in the Deltaville area for collection and combination into a public system.
  • Use of existing deep wells and/or construction of new deep wells in the area of Hartfield for service to lower (eastern) Middlesex.
  • Use of existing deep wells and/or construction of new deep wells in the area of Christchurch (at the former Barnhardt Duck Farm) for service to central and lower Middlesex.
  • Any other alternatives, unknown at this time, that may become in the parties best interest to pursue.

Old proposal
Previously, Sydnor Hydro representatives proposed drilling 1,200 feet to a “brackish” aquifer and then treating the water using reverse osmosis, which passes the water through a membrane to remove salt, minerals and undesirable elements.

Sydnor-Hydro’s proposal was rejected in August by the MWA as being only “marginally sustainable.” MWA member Greg Chambers said at that time, “Reverse osmosis and the related infrastructure is expensive. This has created a nearly insurmountable hurdle to the Sydnor proposal. Before this [treatment] method is imposed, less-expensive sources and methods need to be fully explored.”

This contract between the MWA and Bowman Consulting for $60,000, plus reasonable expenses, will study water sources. The contract is contingent on review by the MWA and its attorney.

Bowman Consulting had worked with Sydnor Hydro on this earlier water proposal. Ken Baybutt, a principal with Bowman Consulting, said following the October 27 meeting that evaluating the identified water sources would take about four months.

Customers needed
Baybutt told the MWA that he also will need to determine if there are enough customers to sustain a public water system.

The previous water proposal, which was complicated, fell short of the minimum 615 customers, with just 459 signing up for water. Sydnor Hydro tried to design a system for those fewer customers, but it was deemed not feasible by the MWA.

The MWA has applied for a grant from the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water, which is under review by the state, to aid in this water feasibility study and the preliminary engineering, reported MWA director Matt Walker, who also is the Middlesex County Administrator.

The MWA will attempt to meet an April 1, 2017 deadline to apply for another Virginia Department of Health grant, said Walker.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently offers a 40-year loan with interest rates as low as 1.375%, said Walker.

County loan
Also at the October 27 meeting, the MWA board approved a memorandum of understanding that was previously approved by the Middlesex Board of Supervisors, which will loan the MWA money for engineering, design and construction of water system infrastructure. Operating costs would not be financed or paid by the BOS.

The MWA’s next meeting is Wednesday, November 9, at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse. 

posted 11.02.2016

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