By Sean Tubbs
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority’s board of directors has decided to keep all three options for the replacement of the
Rivanna Sewer Pump Station
on the table, despite learning Tuesday that one of the concepts is significantly more expensive.
All three concepts will be shown to the public at a meeting Oct. 20.
Listen using player above or download the podcast:
“I can appreciate the board wanting to allow public comment, but after the public meeting the staff will be pushing you to narrow alternatives,” said
Thomas L. Frederick Jr
., executive director of the RWSA.
The station is being replaced with a facility that can process 53 million gallons of sewage a day. The existing station is not capable of handling large amounts of stormwater that infiltrates the sewer system after heavy rainfall, leading to some raw sewage flooding into
The RWSA must decide on an option by Dec. 31 in order to comply with a
consent agreement it made with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Janice R. Carroll, an engineer with
Hazen and Sawyer
, presented details to members of the board Tuesday.
Option A would replace the existing station in place at a cost between $25 million and $27 million. This option has been opposed by residents of the Woolen Mills neighborhood, but Hazen and Sawyer said it could be designed to fit in with the architecture of the community.
Option D would build a new pump station across the Rivanna River down the hill from State Farm Insurance’s regional headquarters at a cost of around $55 million. State Farm has previously expressed its opposition.
Carroll said Option D is more expensive because initial drilling has revealed fractured hard rock masses that could be problematic to remove.
“‘D’ as in ‘difficult,’” Carroll said. “One of the difficulties or risks is that in trying to do the excavation for the pump station there would be a risk of creating rock slides on that slope.”
Option E would extend the existing Rivanna Interceptor by about 2,000 feet by drilling a tunnel at a cost of between $38 million and $40 million. The pump station would then be built on the grounds of the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Each option has potential risks. Option E would require more geotechnical work in order to determine how the tunnel would be drilled, and would also require coordinating with the CSX Railroad.
Option A would require a future City Council to approve a special-use permit for construction after it has been designed.
Option D would require permits from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as a critical slopes waiver from Albemarle County.
Albemarle Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd said he was prepared to remove Option D at the State Farm site immediately.
“It’s almost embarrassing to go forward with a $55 million project that is clearly identified to be something that is going to be difficult to do,” Boyd said.
City Councilor David Brown was equally prepared to remove Option A.
“It seems like concept A would require city approval twice,” Brown said “It would require city approval now, and now there is unanimous City Council opposed.”
Brown said even if the council changes its mind after the October meeting, a future council would have to approve the special-use permit.
“That’s a tremendous amount of political uncertainty to navigate,” Brown said.
The RWSA reached consensus that all three concepts be taken to the public meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Albemarle County Office Building-McIntire.