In A Theoretical PE-Farmville Partnership, Sandy River Reservoir Water Could Be Piped First To Wilck's Lake

Published 4:18 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

FARMVILLE – If Prince Edward County and the Town of Farmville were to resume efforts to jointly construct a pipeline from the Sandy River Reservoir, Wilck's Lake might be its destination.

The two governing bodies, however, are not discussing a revival of plans to get that water to Farmville's treatment plant to serve the town and Prince Edward County with what engineers describe as a drought-proof water source, even under a worst-case drought scenario.

Furthermore, the County has just been given a $24.879 million estimate on construction of its own Sandy River Reservoir-based water system, an estimate that will be good through May. The clock is ticking on that decision for the County to go it alone and build the community's second water system to take advantage of the reservoir's secure-against-drought capacity.

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Nevertheless, the theoretical possibility of a pipeline that would get water to Farmville's treatment plant reappeared during Town Council's February work session, a meeting that saw Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors member Jim Wilck in attendance. Wilck represents a portion of the Town of Farmville on the Board of Supervisors.

During that meeting, Town Manager Gerald Spates did not rule out a pipeline from the Sandy River Reservoir to Farmville and, encouraged to speak, Wilck noted a suggestion he said had been made by an engineer regarding Wilck's Lake.

Spates subsequently endorsed the idea as practical-and even conforming to health department parameters-were the Town ever to use water from the Sandy River Reservoir.

The Board of Supervisors and Town Council, meanwhile, will gather Monday for one of their periodic joint meetings, meetings which have no agenda other than the Town and County being briefed on their respective projects and plans and talking informally in a relaxed agenda-free setting.

During the February Town Council work session discussion of the proposed County water system, and its potential effect on tax rates, the possibility of a pipeline to Farmville re-surfaced.

“I've talked to so many engineers,” Supervisor Wilck said. “They tell me that you can treat any water, it's just a question of cost. And one of them said perhaps, if we were getting water to Farmville, raw water, it would probably be best to pre-treat it out at the reservoir and then perhaps pipe it to Wilck's Lake and dump it in there, so there's a bit of a mix before it's picked up by the intake (the Town has already committed to build on Buffalo Creek)…to send it off to the water plant. But that's just one idea.”

Town manager Spates responded by saying a state health department official has told him “if we use water from the reservoir he wants it mixed with the water from the Appomattox (River). He doesn't want us to treat straight water from the reservoir…

“…The bad thing for us, Sandy River's in a bad location. If it was upstream we could do like we're going to do with Mottley Lake and dump it in the river and it goes through a process before it gets to the plant and makes it a whole lot better.”

Town Council member Sally Thompson then asked “what would it cost to run a pipeline from Sandy River?”

Wilck answered, “I think it was around $7 million, or something like that.”

During the continuing discussion, Spates said, “I'm not saying rule out the pipeline because you've got to look at the cost. But it would be nice to have a back-up (water supply)…But you've got to consider the treatment process involved. It's got to be pumped either, like Mr. Wilck said, to Wilck's Lake and then pump it up there (to the water treatment plant) and mix it (with river water coming into plant).”

There was no “or” to follow that “either,” no other alternative mentioned.

If the Town and County do not choose to renew discussions on a joint pipeline venture from the Sandy River Reservoir to the town, Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors members have until May to move forward with the $24,879,000 price tag for a County water system, which doesn't include additional indirect costs of $841,900.

The County, per the existing reported deadline timeframe, will receive a final lump-sum construction proposal at the end of March, allowing the Board of Supervisors to make a decision at its April board meeting. If the answer is Yes, to build a new Prince Edward County water system, there would be a 30-day waiting period for a contract to be drawn up and executed in the middle of May.