Water Eyed For PE?

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

PRINCE EDWARD – Exactly what direction Prince Edward County will take now that Farmville has pulled the plug on negotiations on a shared water authority is still to be determined.

“More than likely,” Board of Supervisors Chairman William “Buckie” Fore said last week, when asked if it were a topic the board would take up at their November 17 meeting. “I think everybody is just kind of studying it right now individually. I don't know where we're going from here.”

Town officials held a press conference October 13 and announced that they were pulling out of negotiations to create a regional water and sewer authority. Instead of a joint effort, the Town is looking to establish its own authority, inviting the County to a seat on what would be a new entity.

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The Town's action effectively mothballs a previously announced joint effort between the County and the Town to study the creation of the regional entity that, as proposed, would have included a nine-member board with three appointed from inside the Town and six from outside of the Town, following a formula similar to funding for the joint Town/County library.

Supervisors have not met since the Town's announcement and are not scheduled to meet until Thursday, November 17.

Supervisors still have in the mix a study on having their own public water system, though they have not committed to construction.

Under the PPEA, or Public Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, localities may receive unsolicited proposals from private firms – and supervisors agreed to look at the specifics of a possible water project using the Sandy River Reservoir as outlined in an interim agreement with Crowder Construction.

That project factored the construction of an intake, water treatment facility and service lines extending to serve an area south of Farmville to Hampden-Sydney and east to Crewe. The intake structure factors an eight million gallons (MGD) per day intake infrastructure capacity and there would be an easily expandable two MGD facility treatment facility (located about a half mile from the reservoir) that could be upgraded to four MGD. The final estimate for the project presented to the board – factoring Crewe and Burkeville's participation – earlier this year stood at $24,879,000, though there were also estimated project indirect costs of $841,900.

Still, the County has not moved forward with construction and had, instead, worked with the Town on an authority to provide public water services.

Also in the mix, the board previously created the Heartland Water and Sewer Authority consisting of members of the board of supervisors.

Fore said he didn't know if the issue with the Town is “going to be a board issue or a water authority issue.”