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DEQ to hold public hearing on sewage plant

by Larry S. Chowning

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a public hearing in the near future on a wastewater permit for a proposed sewage treatment plant Middlesex County wants to build near Saluda, the county board of supervisors was told on Tuesday.

The proposed plant would serve the county courthouse complex and the Saluda area. Its effluent would empty into a cove on Urbanna Creek.

Roger Hart of Royer Malcolm Pirnie, the county’s engineering firm, told supervisors that 400 people had signed petitions requesting a public hearing on the proposed 40,000-gallon-per-day treatment plant. 

Hart said the county plant would be built to the highest standards required by DEQ, and would not have near the negative impact on the water quality in Urbanna Creek as the Town of Urbanna’s current sewage treatment plant, which has emptied its effluent into the creek for decades.

Ted Cole of Davenport & Co. of Richmond reported that the initial design and implementation of the proposed Saluda sewer system is for a 40,000-gallon-per-day plant with elements included to accommodate a 100,000-gallon-per-day plant.

Cole reported that, hopefully, work can begin on the treatment plant by the second quarter of 2009, and operation of the plant can begin on July 1, 2010.

Cole estimated the initial cost of the system to be $6 million. This would be financed by the county and from funds generated by the sewer system users. 

Cole estimated that in 2012 Christchurch School may need to hook into the system. Christchurch officials have approached the county concerning the matter, and it would cost another $1 million to lay the pipe and do the other necessary work to bring the school online, he said.

The report estimates that by 2017 there will be a need for a 100,000-gallon system, which will cost another $1 million.

According to the report, revenue sources to pay for the treatment plant may come from the following: service-based usage; connection fees for initial hook-up to system; availability fees for capacity on the system; and possibly a one cent tax hike on the county’s real estate tax rate, which would generate $250,000 annually.

The connection fees suggested in the report are between $6,500 and $8,000 for residential units, and between $20,000 and $38,000 for industrial facilities. The usage rate for a household by 2011 could be $8.10 per 1,000 gallons.

Cole noted that the figures are very preliminary and also could be determined by the type of plant that is built, and the usage requirements approved by DEQ and others.

Urbanna Plant

Rather than spend the funds to upgrade the Urbanna plant required by 2010 Clean Bay Standards, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD)plans to continue the plant’s current standards by leasing nitrogen and phosphorus credits from other more efficient plants in the region. HRSD owns and operates the Urbanna plant.

“I don’t really see how that is going to help Urbanna Creek,” responded assistant county administrator Marcia Jones.  “We are at least trying to live by the rules and meet the standards required by the state [with the new county plant].”

posted 11.06.2008

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