Louisa Water Proposes New Discharge Location and Ordinance Changes

By. John Haksch, Louisa County Field Officer

By design the Louisa County Water Authority (LCWA) is an independent authority.  While the organization operates as if it were a semi-autonomous county agency.  Their independence from direct county control insulates Louisa County from the many legal squabbles foisted on LCWA by Historical Green Springs, Inc. (HGSI) – a corporation formed to protect the historical significance of the Green Springs District.

The latest lawsuit of HGSI against the LCWA (over $130 million) concerns the discharge of treated waste water into Camp Creek, which flows along a small part of the border of the historical district.

As a part of the suit, it was determined that as the holder of a land trust, HGSI established standing in the case. 

The Historic Green Springs, Inc. land trust (HGSI), in its amended complaint had stated that “protecting water quality in Camp Creek [a water body into which the Water Authority discharged treated sewage wastewater] is a core duty in [HGSI’s] overall purpose of preserving and protecting the properties that comprise the District, which it accomplishes through the use of conservation easements that, among other things, protect the riparian rights and beneficial uses of Camp Creek

As a potential resolution to this suit and tighter regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dean Rodgers, general manager of the LCWA, proposed a plan that would divert the discharge to a much further distant point, along the South Anna River. This new location would provide a larger dissipation area and thus dilute the discharge below the new regulatory limits. This $8 million project would serve to mitigate several problems, including the excessive naturally-occurring zinc levels in the discharge.

Along with the relocated discharge solution, it was proposed that residents along the pipeline route would “hook up” to the line.  The ordinance change as reported in The Central Virginian was:

The water authority has proposed requiring residents within certain distances of a pipeline to connect to municipal water and sewer.” This caused quite a furor among county residents, particularly in the affected area: “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 actual proposal was that any new dwelling constructed within 100 feet of the water and sewer pipelines be required to use county water and sewer. The cost of these hookups would, in fact, be less than the cost of putting in a well and septic system.

In an interview, Mr. Rodgers corrected the published misconceptions and stated that no existing dwellings would be affected unless the well or septic system was irreparable and had to be replaced completely. He also supplied a map of the affected area:

watersewer2012

This map can also be found by following this link.

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John Haksch is the Louisa County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support our work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

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