Pipeline fix for Zion Crossroads woes
To solve ongoing water quality issues at the troubled Zion Crossroads Water Treatment Plant, the Louisa County Water Authority has proposed piping the plant’s discharge 10 miles away.
The plant–which has dealt with hundreds of violations and numerous lawsuits since coming online–is facing a deadline for Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s limits of zinc in effluent, forcing the project to the top of the county’s to-do list.
“It’s one of the top priorities, if not the top priority,” said CharimanWillie Harper, Louisa County Board of Supervisors.
Officials said the proposal–which would move the plant’s outfall point from the lake impoundment at Camp Creek to the South Anna River at a cost of roughly $8 million–is the most efficient and cost-effective way to meet the new standards.
Dean Rodgers, LCWA general manager, said efforts to bring the zinc levels into compliance before the December 4 deadline have failed–in part, because the plant’s water sources naturally contain high levels of zinc–and that the dilution effect the much larger South Anna River would have on the effluent would solve the issue.
Additionally, officials expect the new reclaimed water pipeline–which would bypass the Historic Green Springs District–would resolve legal challenges from Green Springs landowners.
“It would help because there wouldn’t be any discharge into Camp Creek,” Harper said.
But the water authority faced tough opposition from property owners along the proposed pipeline path during a public meeting Tuesday.
Residents called the basic plan short-sighted, considering the county’s long-term goal of bringing basic infrastructure to county growth areas.
If approved in its entirety, the project would provide utilities–including sewer, reclaimed and potable water pipelines and fiber optic cables–to the growth areas in Zion Crossroads and Ferncliff at more than double the cost of the basic plan.
Residents urged officials to consider those options and move the discharge point further down stream near Route 208.
Rodgers said that location would offer the plant more flexibility with future DEQ limits because of the increased size of the river and its associated watershed.
But residents along Route 250 were concerned that the expansion of water and sewer pipelines would force them to move off their well and septic and pay about $10,000 in residential connection fees.
The water authority has proposed requiring residents within certain distances of a pipeline to connect to municipal water and sewer.
Along with the expansion of basic infrastructure in growth areas, officials see the reclaimed water pipeline as a potential revenue stream which could enable to the LCWA to become financially independent.
Reclaimed water meeting DEQ level 1 standards is suitable for various public and commercial uses, except for drinking and reuse conserves valuable drinking water–which could become an issue for the county beginning in 2041, according to the county’s long range regional water supply plan.
Rodgers said the water authority has submitted an application for the basic plan, including a deadline extension for the zinc limits, to DEQ, which he said is supportive of the proposal.
The county has issued a request for proposal for various project options, including different segments of pipeline extension, installation of fiber optic cables, a reclaimed water filling station and new water sources for the treatment plant–which is undergoing an upgrade and expansion expected to be completed in June 2013.