County close to buying sewage plant

Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral District) explains the reasons the county may buy a wastewater treatment plant at Lake Anna during a meeting at Callie Opie’s Orchard in June 2020.

A memorandum of understanding detailing county government plans to buy a wastewater treatment plant at Lake Anna received the Louisa County Board of Supervisors’ backing at their Feb. 16 meeting.

The facility will give the county a foothold in development of the New Bridge Road (Route 208) corridor, where much of the lake’s commercial growth is concentrated. Though the plant will initially only serve Lake Anna Plaza and the planned Lake Anna Resort, it could expand in the future.

The county is likely to borrow money to pay for a $5.1 million upgrade of the plant after acquiring it from Lake Anna Environmental Services. The developers of Lake Anna Resort will chip in $1 million toward that cost, according to the MOU terms. The resort has also committed to pay $250,000 in sewer connection fees before it operates a 150-room hotel and condo building and a restaurant. Developers also plan to build boat ramps and a boardwalk.

“My hope is that this plant will be used to spur new economic development,” said Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral District), who met with residents of nearby neighborhoods in 2020 to explain his support for the deal. He shared a letter at the meeting from Windwood Coves Property Owners Association in support of the county’s buying the wastewater plant. That neighborhood abuts the property where the plant is located.

The plant currently has a discharge capacity of 20,000 gallons of treated wastewater effluent per day, though its state permit allows up to 99,000 gallons per day. The county intends to expand the plant’s capacity to at least the permit limit. Lake Anna Resort developers have said they will use about 60,000 gallons per day.

A study by Dewberry, a county engineering consultant, estimated that the plant could be expanded in the future to 300,000 gallons per day of capacity for an additional $2.5 million, according to Andy Wade, the county’s economic development director. 

The cost to acquire the wastewater plant is $100,000, said Wade. The facility, which was built to serve businesses at Lake Anna Plaza and the adjacent townhomes, has been cited in the past by state officials for environmental violations. The state Department of Environmental Quality encouraged the county to acquire and upgrade the plant. Pam Baughman, Louisa County Water Authority general manager, said the county will rebuild the plant to match the standards of the Zion Crossroads wastewater facility.

Until the county got involved, Lake Anna Environmental Services had been in the process of selling the plant to the homeowners’ association for the Lake Anna Plaza townhouses.

The plant’s discharge pipe empties into the lake, a point of contention for some in the community.

Lake Anna Resort will be required under the terms of the memorandum of understanding to give the county a $750,000 letter of credit or bond to support engineering work prior to the wastewater plant’s upgrade. If the resort developers back out of the deal for any reason, the county will get to keep that money to proceed with plant improvements, Wade said.

Wade presented a timeline that shows the county acquiring the plant by September 2022, with construction in the year that follows. Lake Anna Resort’s developers hope to have their hotel completed by early 2024.

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