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Urbanna Creek cleanup added to CIP

by Larry S. Chowning

The Middlesex County Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is a planning guide used by county supervisors.

The main purpose of the CIP is to prioritize county needs. Just because a proposed project appears on the CIP, it doesn’t mean the county is obligated to complete that project.

At an October 16 meeting of the Middlesex Board of Supervisors, Saluda District supervisor Pete Mansfield noted that issues concerning wastewater treatment for the Saluda area were not addressed in the proposed 2014 CIP.

Mansfield said supervisors have supported the improvement of creeks in the county, most noteworthy Broad and Jackson creeks in Deltaville where large amounts of funds have been spent to keep the channels open for navigation.

Mansfield said issues involving Urbanna Creek are not navigational, but of water quality. The major problem is that the Town of Urbanna sewage treatment plant, which is owned and operated by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), discharges more than permitted into the creek, he said.

Mansfield explained that this is allowed because HRSD has purchased nutrient credits from other localities which allows HRSD to empty more nutrients into the creek than otherwise allowed.

HRSD also runs the treatment plant at the Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center in Saluda, which also empties into Urbanna Creek.

Mansfield wants a sewage treatment system where there is no discharge into Urbanna Creek—one that will serve the Urbanna and Saluda areas. He wants a system where the discharge is handled by “drip irrigation,” which is a form of land application of treated sewage wastewater onto land.

The board supported Mansfield’s proposal to place this plan on the proposed CIP for 2014, but made it clear that inclusion in the CIP does not necessarily mean the county is in favor of funding the cleanup of Urbanna Creek.

“Remember, this is only a plan and there is nothing set in concrete that we will expend funds to support this when the time comes,” said board chairman Wayne Jessie.

Mansfield thanked the board for putting the “no discharge” project on the CIP list. He said he understood Jessie’s remarks, but noted Urbanna Creek is a “premier” creek in Middlesex and it does not require the services, (referring to navigational service) that other creeks require, and he hopes the board will support the cleanup of the creek in the future.

posted 10.24.2012

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