By Bridgett Lynn

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Friday, June 11, 2010

In early June, the

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

heard a quarterly update from

Tom Frederick

, Executive Director of the

Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA)

. The RWSA is the wholesaler of water and sewer service for residents of Albemarle County and Charlottesville.

Listen using player above or download the podcast:

Download 20100602-RWSA

Frederick said the RWSA had reached an agreement in April with the City of Charlottesville and the

Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA)

to reduce stormwater inflow and infiltration from local sewer systems. Stormwater flows entering the sewer system increase the volume of water that must be treated.

“We’ve actually prioritized the areas that we should go to first… one of them is what we call lower Rivanna which is south of Free Bridge…[the second area is] the Crozet area,” said Frederick.

Under the agreement, the three agencies will work collectively to reduce by 25 percent the amount of wet weather inflow that infiltrates the wastewater system by 2020.

“If we’re going to achieve our goal, sewer rates in the future are going to have to go up some. We’ve neglected our sewer infrastructure as a community for too long,” said Frederick.

Tom Frederick, Executive Director of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority

The agreement allows for the RWSA to proceed with their master plan to resize interceptors and treatment plants in order to carry peak wet weather flow. This includes the plan to upgrade the pumping capacity for the

Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

, which gets overwhelmed with stormwater during heavy flooding.

“We’re working on the design to upgrade the wet weather capacity for that pump station which will pump into the treatment plant,” said Frederick.

The upgrades for the treatment plant will remove high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous that would otherwise be released into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“We’re going to be, in the coming months, doing a lot of public relations work and public input work,” said Frederick.

The RWSA has also been able to advance their

Meadow Creek Interceptor project

. The project will upgrade a 24 inch sewer pipe to 36 inches that follows Meadow Creek west to east through the City of Charlottesville.

Metra Construction issued a notice to proceed on April 1, and construction is already underway by Faulconer Construction in the area of the

Meadow Creek Parkway

. The upgrade is expected to be completed by summer of 2011.

Following the update on Meadow Creek, Frederick proceeded to the discuss the studies associated with the

community’s 50-year water supply plan


The latest proposal from

Schnabel Engineering

is an

earthen dam to be built just downstream from the current Lower Ragged Mountain dam

. The new dam would raise the reservoir’s water level by 45 feet and is a design change from the concrete dam proposed by

Gannett Fleming

, the previous consultants.

In a presentation in May

, Frederick said that the new dam will have a total cost of between $28.5 million and $36.6 million, which includes final design and engineering work, an environmental mitigation plan and protection of the Interstate 64 embankment, which the larger reservoir will reach.

“About sixty plus percent of the project is already financed through existing rates that we have today….I think financially we’re in very good shape. Especially now that we have a plan that is inside and stays inside the budget that was adopted in 2006,” said Frederick. “I don’t see much impact on wholesale rates to implement the water plan. That’s the good news.”

“If you take advantage of the favorable construction and the bid prices are down, then that means even higher than the sixty percent is already financed and funded,” said Frederick.

Frederick said other water supply studies include

dredging the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir

and Charlottesville’s study to raise the existing

Ragged Mountain Dam

by 13 feet are also underway.

The results of the second phase of the dredging feasibility study will be reviewed at a

public meeting on June 30 at 6pm in CitySpace at the Market Street parking garage




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