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June 22, 2008

Frederick outlines potential paths for dredging study

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In the past month, the Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors have both passed resolutions directing their representatives on the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority to study the possibility of dredging the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir to both boost storage capacity as well as to maintain its long-term health for the community water supply.

Council’s direction to study dredging was incorporated in a resolution passed June 2, 2008 that reaffirmed their commitment to the Community Water Supply Plan adopted in June 2006. The Board passed their resolution as part of their consent agenda at their meeting on June 11, 2008.

Frederick Tom Frederick

The Executive Director of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has issued a memo asking for more guidance on how to proceed. Tom Frederick wrote to his Board to point out that he had heard some in the community asking for the study to proceed immediately, while others have said they want a task force to explore the reasons for dredging.

“We believe both interests can presently be served by initiating a request for proposals,” Frederick writes in the memo, which is dated June 23, 2008. To achieve that, Frederick said his staff is preparing a Request for Proposals for the study, and bids would be due by August. Frederick said the RWSA could try to select a consultant by late August, but that September would be more likely.

Frederick went on to say that if the community wants to create a task force, a meeting should be held between the chairs of the four government bodies that have jurisdiction over water supply issues. That would be Mayor Dave Norris, County Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna), Michael Gaffney of the RWSA Board, and Don Wagner of the Albemarle County Service Authority. Frederick would like this meeting to occur before July 4.

Frederick said the successful consultant would have “significant experience in the design as well as operations of dredging” and would be knowledgeable in the relationship between sedimentation and water quality. The study could take many forms, including bathymetric studies of the reservoir, examinations of the type of sediment that would be uncovered, as well as market studies to determine the worth of dredged material.  Frederick wrote the successful consultant could also comment on ways to reduce the influx of sediment into the reservoir.

Frederick concluded that the RWSA could expend $300,000 from a reserve fund for watershed protection and will seek direction from the RWSA Board and the public at its meeting on Monday, June 23, 2008. Charlottesville Tomorrow will provide the full audio of the event Monday evening.

Sean Tubbs

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