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Flush With Water Info

PRINCE EDWARD – A proposed new public water project navigated its way over one hurdle July 19.

According to Draper Aden Vice President Fred Pribble, the preliminary engineering report was submitted to the Health Department, the County and the County's consultant.

“We thought we had a very positive meeting with them,” Pribble told County supervisors at their August 10 meeting, referring to the health department. “They're gonna be reviewing it and give us comments about it in 30 to 45 days. We'll continue to be having discussions with them, answering and addressing any questions that they have throughout the process.”

They will also answer any questions from the County's consult.

It is yet another step in a long study process. Prince Edward is looking to tap into the Sandy River Reservoir's potential as a possible public water source. The County was given an unsolicited proposal in 2008 to wade into the water issue and, under the PPEA, or Public Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, localities may receive unsolicited proposals from private firms. Supervisors approved an interim agreement with Crowder Construction Company and will weigh a design-build proposal.

The company – which has been working with Draper Aden engineers – has been working on specifics outlined in the agreement (which, when complete, will cost the County about $2 million).

The preliminary engineering report was sent to the State Health Department, which handles permitting.

Among the findings reported were that samples were taken at the boat landing and it was reported that there was nothing of any regulatory concern.

Pribble cited other findings: the Sandy River Reservoir is the most reliable water source for Prince Edward County (there is an existing withdrawal permit of 6.3 million gallons per day); data has determined that the water is treatable and that they meet the Virginia Drinking Water standards at a reasonable cost either using a conventional filtration with activated carbon or a membrane filter with activated carbon; and water in the reservoir is typical of other large reservoirs at other places in the state and the treatment technology they are moving forward with recommending, continuing to evaluate is very typical in those areas.

“There were also some concerns from the Health Department in some of the things that needed to be addressed related to agriculture uses. We feel very strongly with the overlay district and…some of the existing BMPs (Best Management Practices) that are in place, especially on those large farms, that this will not become an issue,” Pribble said. “And one (of the)…very positive things is that most of those large farm operations have already put adequate BMPs in place.”

Board members have also been presented concerns over the location of an old landfill close to the reservoir.

Pribble also cited the use of monitoring wells and that tests so far have not shown any constituents of regulatory concern that they would see normally from a landfill.

Options

Yet to be determined is what, if any, options the County would take in its service area. Pribble outlined specific line option areas that would address a service area south of Farmville along U. S. Route 15 west toward Hampden-Sydney College, east into Nottoway County to Burkeville and Crewe, and a combination of the two.

Preliminary estimates that factored a raw water intake and PS, water treatment plant and a distribution system projected $22,183,000 for the Rt. 15 corridor area (with conventional treatment and the lowest cost distribution system) with a 1-Million Gallons per Day (MGD) water treatment plant. A system limited to serving the Crewe/Burkeville corridor projects a 2-MGD plant in a system projected to cost $22,323,000.

A system to serve both areas was estimated at $26,918,000 with a conventional water treatment and lowest cost distribution system to a high range of $30,153,000 using the membrane system and highest cost distribution system.

Estimated indirect costs for a 1-MGD system was projected at $429,600 and $589,600 for a 2-MGD facility.

Annual operations and maintenance costs for a 1-MGD facility was projected at $314,500 and $556,000 for a 2-MGD facility.

“…We feel as we continue to refine the scope of the project in details … start getting competitive prices from the equipment and the materials supplier and subcontracts, we feel like that overall cost is gonna continue to improve from both the July and the April estimates,” Pribble said.

Next Steps

Pribble reported that they would continue working on refining the project scope, work with the health department in reviewing and approval the preliminary engineering report, develop more detailed design of the water treatment plant and the water mains, continue looking at funding alternatives, and expect to have a decision from Rural Development, and whether they will be one of the funding options.

Partnership development would also continue.

Routing

Supervisors have multiple routing options available to weigh through. Paying a little more, for example, could make a line more accessible in some areas rather than going the least expensive option.

While the western (or Rt. 15 service) area is pretty simple, Pribble detailed that the eastern route is a little more complicated. Options include following U. S. Route 460 using the median or along the edge of the right-of-way or just outside of the right-of-way where they would have to obtain easements; a second option would be using the High Bridge Trail former railroad bed, or following a power line and then follow the rail line.

The power line easement, for example, would not allow service to the Rice area; that would add about $600,000. The High Bridge Trail and Rt. 460 options should provide Rice with water access.

A service line could possibly run through the middle of the Rice community.

“We've had some very positive discussions with DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation),” Pribble detailed. “We could pretty much put the water line right down the middle of the trail. It's nice and flat all the way.”

It's very little grade, he cited, and what grade there is is very gradual.”

He also noted they've had discussions with Virginia Power and there are some permit fees and easement fees associated with that. That, however, is up and down, following the existing contour.

Pribble noted that when they get to the point of developing a guaranteed maximum price, they would narrow it down.

Pribble was also asked about developing partnerships.

“I think the next step is taking the numbers that we have and starting to sit down and start looking at rates and fees and charges and how that's gonna impact the potential customers-including Prince Edward County. Not just how it's gonna impact Crewe and Burkeville,” he said.

It remains far from a foregone conclusion, however, as board members discussed-and even had a motion to consider holding a referendum on-a possible public water project. Supervisors, on a 6-2 vote, however, adopted a substitute motion, effectively putting a decision on hold until more information is in hand.

Before anybody is going to sign, County Administrator Wade Bartlett commented, they're going to want to know what their costs are.

Supervisor Jim Wilck, one of the two opposing votes, cited a study that projected Blackstone/Ft. Pickett, Burkeville and Crewe have sufficient water sources and treatment capacity to meet the projected future demands of their respective water systems to 2050. After that date, the plan detailed suggestions on how to get water.

“I just don't see that they're gonna be great customers of ours,” Wilck said.

Bartlett highlighted the distance between the Sandy River and Crewe and Blackstone and Crewe is about the same, so it would cost roughly the same amount to run the lines that distance.

Bartlett suggested a work session on the routes, but the board took no action.

The interim agreement would not finalize the design of the project but explore options, select a design to pursue, and develop that up to 30 percent.

By the end of the interim agreement, which is scheduled for the end of the year/early 2011, the County is expected to have solid numbers, a solid scope, know partners, and funding opportunities.