County may buy wastewater plant at lake

Lake Anna Resort, a proposed hotel, restaurant and retail development on the south side of New Bridge Road (Route 208) is the immediate reason Louisa County officials are considering buying a nearby wastewater treatment plant.

Louisa County officials are negotiating a possible purchase of a wastewater treatment plant on Lake Anna to impact development on one of the lake's most coveted properties.

Should the county buy the plant, it would also upgrade it to make it as much as five times larger than it is now. Over time, the facility could stimulate development all along the New Bridge Road (Route 208) corridor.

The board of supervisors discussed buying the treatment facility, which currently serves the Lake Anna Plaza commercial center and adjoining townhouses, at their May 18 meeting. Treated effluent from the plant is pumped some distance into the lake.

The supervisors are interested in the plant in part because the developers of Lake Anna Resort, located across New Bridge Road (Route 208) from Lake Anna Plaza, have plans to install a large sewage drainfield to serve the hotel, restaurant and retail at the resort.

If the county buys the wastewater facility and expands its capacity, the developer would no longer need the drainfield. County officials are worried about the potential for the drainfield to leak over time, releasing untreated or partially treated wastewater into the lake.

"This presents an opportunity to ensure the water quality of Lake Anna," Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral District) said.  

The plant has been owned by Lake Anna Environmental Services Inc. since 2007, when the company bought the plant from the William F. Blount Family Partnership. Andy Wade, Louisa County economic development director, noted that the plant has been cited for violations by state environmental officials in recent years.

"It seems to be better of late, but there are still ongoing issues," he said.

Wade told the board that a developer in the area could use up to 60,000 gallons per day of wastewater capacity at the plant. He did not name the developer, but Adams confirmed it is Lake Anna Resort.

The resort's site plan, approved in 2017, permits up to 99 hotel rooms, Adams said. The developers could build additional units in the future, however. About 11,000 square feet of commercial space is also permitted by the site plan.

Ed Blount, a longtime Lake Anna builder, first presented the Lake Anna Resort plan to local officials in 2015. Mike Grossman, a Gainesville-based developer, became the resort's managing partner in November 2018, according to his LinkedIn page.

Before it agrees to buy the wastewater plant, the county wants a commitment from Lake Anna Resort that it will move forward with development. A memorandum of understanding would ensure the resort pays for the first phase of plant upgrades.

While the time frame for Lake Anna Resort's construction is unclear, the county would have an immediate paying customer in Lake Anna Plaza. Businesses in the plaza include Vito's and Asian Cafe restaurants, Lake Anna Taphouse and others.

The wastewater plant's maximum allowable wastewater capacity is 99,000 gallons per day. It currently is able to process up to 20,000 gallons per day.

Wade argued that treated wastewater is safe and can be reused. For instance, the water authority recycles effluent from the Zion Crossroads wastewater plant to irrigate the Spring Creek golf course.

Other large commercial developments along the New Bridge Road corridor that currently rely on private drainfields, or would if they are built, include the Cutalong golf course and residential project and The Corner, planned across from Dickinson's Store on Zachary Taylor Highway (Route 522).

Last updated May 19 at 3:13 p.m.

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