As the county continues negotiations to buy a wastewater treatment plant at Lake Anna, the owners of a nearby commercial development have committed to chip in at least $1 million toward the cost.
The funds provided by Lake Anna Resort will go toward the estimated $5 million needed to purchase and upgrade the plant, located behind Lake Anna Plaza on New Bridge Road (Route 208).
Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral District) revealed the figures during a constituent forum on June 20 at Callie Opie’s Orchard Restaurant. About 25 citizens attended the meeting, with another 15 watching on Adams’ Facebook page.
“This actually pays for itself in a very short period of time without any additional subsidy,” Adams said, noting that the county would have an immediate paying customer in Lake Anna Plaza.
With access to the wastewater plant, Lake Anna Resort could expand its hotel from 99 to 150 rooms. A restaurant and retail shops are also possible uses on the property, located on the south side of Route 208.
Pam Baughman, Louisa County Water Authority general manager, said if the county buys the plant, it will be able to make upgrades on the existing site. She spoke in response to a Windwood Coves subdivision resident concerned that the county might acquire additional land between the plant and the neighborhood.
Lake Anna Environmental Services was in the process of selling the plant to the Lake Anna Plaza property owners’ association when county officials got involved. The state Department of Environmental Quality encouraged the county to acquire the plant, which has had compliance violations in recent years. Baughman said the water authority would be held to a higher treatment standard than the current owners.
Richmond-based Sydnor Hydro operates the plant on behalf of the current owners, but the water authority would take over operations if the county buys the facility.
The existing plant is able to process 20,000 gallons per day of wastewater, with treated effluent released into the lake. Lake Anna Resort anticipates using another 60,000 gallons per day. After expansion, the plant will be permitted to handle up to 99,000 gallons per day.
The value of purchasing the plant does not come from the facility itself, but the permit to operate it, according to Adams. Even if Lake Anna Resort fails to develop, the county would have a treatment plant that could serve other parts of the New Bridge Road corridor.
If the county doesn’t buy the plant, the extra capacity included in the permit could be transferred to another facility.
“Once that permit goes away, it’s never coming back,” he said. “In this county, what will eventually limit our economic development opportunities is wastewater treatment.”
Baughman said while treated effluent would continue to be released into the lake, it’s possible the county could reuse some wastewater in the future on the Cutalong golf course as it does at Spring Creek in Zion Crossroads.