By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The

Charlottesville City Council

has been given an update on the status of the dredging feasibility studies it has insisted be commissioned by the

Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority

(RWSA). The briefing by RWSA Board member and City Manager

Gary O’Connell

gave Mayor

Dave Norris

the opportunity to remind the RWSA that Council wants a study to determine the costs of dredging the

South Fork Rivanna Reservoir

to its original capacity.


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O’Connell handed out a memo and first reminded Council

they approved a scope of work

for an RFP that includes a determination of how much it would cost to remove the estimated 2 million cubic yards of sediment that have filled the reservoir since 1966. The study will include a look at the costs and logistics involved with four potential disposal sites for the sediment.

“All of those things are verbatim what was in the Council’s opinion on May 18,” O’Connell said. “There’s been no deviation at all that I’m aware of.” O’Connell said part of his service on the RWSA Board is to ensure Council’s direction is carried out. He also reminded Council that both Public Works Director

Judy Mueller

and Councilor

Holly Edwards

also serve on the RWSA Board.

Earlier this month, an RWSA committee recommended

hiring HDR Consulting

to conduct the various dredging feasibility studies, which also include a pre-dredge survey, a bathymetric study and a step-by-step plan of how different dredging scenarios for different reasons would be implemented. The RWSA committee included two Charlottesville citizens, and the full RWSA Board of Directors is expected to approve the choice at its August or September meeting.

O’Connell said that the RWSA Board may agree to execute a partial contract at its August meeting so that HDR can begin field work. That would allow work to begin so that the results can be ready by the spring of 2010. O’Connell said that will likely coincide with new cost estimates on the expansion of the proposed Ragged Mountain Dam as well as the proposed pipeline between the South Fork and Ragged Mountain Reservoirs.

O’Connell said the RWSA would publicly post to its website any updates received by HDR about the technical progress of the studies. He said HDR would hold a public information session in December when the data collection period is over, as well as another when their results are made public. O’Connell said it was his recommendation that Council would be more regularly updated on the water supply plan as well as sewer renovation projects.

Councilor

Satyendra Huja

asked if the City could convene a steering committee to oversee the work of HDR. However, Councilor

David Brown

said he was satisfied that the process would be transparent.

At the conclusion of the update, Norris said he wanted to hear from the City’s representatives on the RWSA Board that HDR would deliver a report that includes an analysis of a full restorative dredging of the reservoir for water supply purposes.

“I heard absolute clarity on that point tonight and I think everybody understands that’s what this study is intended to do,” Norris said. “If we get a sense along the way that there’s any wavering about any of those commitments we will certainly step in and correct the ship’s direction.”

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