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July 21, 2010

ACSA debates source of funding for Glenmore water tank

Reader comments (0) By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who should pay when the Albemarle County Service Authority decides to build new infrastructure to increase the reliability of its water distribution system? The ACSA Board of Directors briefly explored that question last week while discussing a proposed $2 million water tank to serve the Village of Rivanna.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20100715-ACSA-Glenmore-Water-Tank

At their July 15 meeting, the ACSA board heard a report about a location study for a water tank which would add redundancy, but not additional storage capacity. The tank would ensure the growth area around the Glenmore community continues to have water if there is a break in the line that carries water to eastern Albemarle County.

 “From a system planning standpoint, you put things in place to anticipate something bad happening,” said ACSA executive director Gary O’Connell

As part of the conceptual phase, the ACSA hired the Michael Baker Jr. engineering firm to determine how big the structure should be and to provide a preliminary cost estimate. The size and location of the tank will be determined if the project moves into a design phase.

20100715-John-Martin
ACSA Board Member John Martin
“I think the tank should be built, but I think we should explore who should pay for it,” said ACSA board member John Martin.  He suggested the possibility of creating a special rate district or even asking the developers of Glenmore to pay for it.

Martin said that when the Board of Supervisors approved the rezoning for the Glenmore development in December 1990, they accepted a proffer that required then developer Frank Kessler to cover the full costs of creating the infrastructure for water and sewer services.

“In order to build [Glenmore], they had to build a 23,000 foot water pipeline from the urban area to where the [neighborhood] was going to be,” Martin said. “One of the proffers was that the developer would provide water and sewer collection, distribution and treatment facilities at his expense.”

Martin said he wanted to know why the developers did not build the tank as Glenmore developed.

Jim Colbaugh, who represents the Scottsville district on the ACSA board, said a tank was possibly not considered to be necessary as the community was growing. 

“Now it’s [over] 800 homes, and it’s a little different and it’s going to be more different as future growth occurs,” Colbaugh said. “They probably never considered capacity issues for a tank when the 1990 agreement was made.”

Download Download staff report on proposed Glenmore water tank

Download Download documentation of proffers for Glenmore rezoning


Colbaugh said he would support the ACSA paying for the tank because it would be to increase system reliability, and not to expand capacity. He cited the upgrades the authority currently performing in the Scottsville system as a comparable project. The ACSA is also planning for a tank in the West Leigh subdivision to provide similar redundancy.

O’Connell said the ACSA might not want to set the precedent of asking developers to pay for system enhancements and other capital projects not related to enhancing capacity. He said traditionally such projects have been paid for by current ratepayers.

“With the reserve that we have, we have the ability to finance it and pay for it if the board wanted to move forward,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell said he would like the board to sort out who will pay for it before taking the project to the community for their input. The ACSA Board will discuss the issue again at its meeting in August.

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