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March 11, 2009

RWSA’s Tom Frederick updates Albemarle County Board on water supply plan

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20090304-Frederick

One day after the Board of Supervisors participated in a joint meeting with the City Council  to discuss the water supply plan, they received a more detailed briefing from the leaders of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) and the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA).

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Tom Frederick, Executive Director of the RWSA, reported on the status of the panel of experts hired to take a look at the designs for the new Ragged Mountain Dam. The panel is meeting this week in Charlottesville, and Frederick said the main goal is to determine what additional studies are required to help inform the team’s work.

“If we reach the point where additional data is needed, we’re going to need to hire a driller to go out to the site,” Frederick said, adding that will slow down the panel’s work.

During Frederick’s briefing, Supervisor Sally Thomas (Samuel Miller) asked him to comment on statements made by Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris’ that the existing dam at Ragged Mountain can be raised by 13 feet, rather than replaced. Thomas wanted to know if the panel would also be looking at the foundation of the existing plan.

“If there’s cracked rock in one place, it may not be safe to add to the existing dam, either,” Thomas said. Frederick said the expert panel would be looking at the 1908 dam too.

“We are not limiting the evaluation to the layout for the dam that Gannett Fleming proposed to us,” Frederick said. “That means that it is on the table to talk about the existing dam location… At this point in the process we think that our posture needs to be broad and invite those kinds of questions.”

Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) asked if the RWSA would meet the deadline imposed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Dam Safety Division to repair or replace the Ragged Mountain Dam. Currently, the RWSA has a conditional permit to continue operating the 100 year old Ragged Mountain dam until June 30, 2011. The permit requires the RWSA to submit a plan to either replace or strengthen the dam by November of this year. The pause in the dam’s design phase could jeopardize the RWSA’s ability to meet the deadline. Frederick said it was too early to tell if the agency would be granted another exception. 

Other news from Tom Frederick:

  • The Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant “Enhanced Nutrient Removal” project is out to bid. Contractors have until March 31, 2009 to submit bids. Frederick said the RWSA has applied for federal economic stimulus money to help pay for the project. The project has a cost estimate of around $65 million.
  • Frederick announced that the design for the Meadowcreek Interceptor is more or less complete, and right of ways negotiations are on-going with the City and City residents. He briefed Supervisors on changes made in response to community concerns about the pipe’s aesthetics.  Namely, a section of the pipe was lowered, and a landscaping plan was created. Frederick said the changes have raised the cost estimate for the project by $440,000. Negotiations between the City and the RWSA are still underway regarding the amount of money the RWSA will have to pay the City for an easement. Frederick said he hopes the project can go to bid in late April.

Fern says new pump station will handle future needs in northern development area
ACSA Executive Director Gary Fern shared the details of the $11 million North Fork Regional Pump Station, which he said is the largest construction project ever taken on by his organization. The pump station will replace the Camelot Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is at the end of its useful life. In response to a question from Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett), Fern said that the pump station should be able to accommodate the capacity of the 900-home North Pointe development.

In a follow-up interview with Charlottesville Tomorrow, Fern said the Powell Creek Interceptor would be large enough to accept all the extra sewage that will be sent to the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, at least through the year 2030.

View other stories on North Pointe development and sewer capacity:

Sean Tubbs

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 01:00 - Frederick gives update on the expert panel for the Ragged Mountain Dam
  • 03:00 - Supervisor Sally Thomas asks Frederick about Mayor Dave Norris' alternative plan
  • 05:45 - Supervisor Ken Boyd asks about Department of Conservation and Recreation mandate to fix or replace the Ragged Mountain dam
  • 08:00 - Frederick reports on the Moores Creek Enhanced Nutrient Removal project
  • 09:30 - Rooker asks if there is a chance of stimulus money, prompting discussion
  • 15:30 - Frederick briefs Board on Meadowcreek Interceptor
  • 22:40 - Rooker raises the concern that the City may hold up the Interceptor with discussion
  • 25:34 - Slutzky warns against making too much of the issue, says he will talk to the Mayor
  • 26:30 - Frederick takes "strong issue" with the idea that the new Meadowcreek Interceptor is only for County growth 
  • 30:30 - Frederick describes how a portion of the Interceptor will be built within VDOT's right-of-way for the Meadowcreek Parkway
  • 32:00 - Frederick briefs Board on the South Fork Stewardship Task Force
  • 32:30 - Thomas asks Frederick about Dominion Development Resources' claim that they can prevent siltation in the reservoir
  • 36:00 - Frederick reviews the RWSA's budget for the next year, as well as the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority's strategic plan
  • 47:30 - Frederick asks for feedback on the RWSA's new website
  • 48:20 - ACSA Executive Director Tom Frederick begins discussing the $11 million North Fork Regional Pump Station
  • 55:30 - Rooker asks how North Pointe development will be affected by the North Fork pump station
  • 58:30 - Fern discusses the ACSA's strategic plan, the ACSA rate study
  • 59:20 - Fern discusses the potential for connecting the Oak Hill trailer park to the ACSA jurisdictional area

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