27 March 2013
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has terminated a consent order Aqua Virginia Inc. had been operating under since purchasing the Lake Monticello wastewater system in Fluvanna County in 2003, the company announced Thursday (March 21).
The state issued the consent order to the previous owners of the system because of significant environmental violations. Based on improvements made by Aqua, the state terminated the order in December 2012. A consent order is a negotiated agreement issued by the state that outlines specific actions needed to bring the system into compliance.
The company said it has spent nearly $16 million on improvements to the wastewater treatment plant and collection system, which serves about 11,000 people in Lake Monticello.
“Rapid growth at Lake Monticello and the resultant need for infrastructure upgrades to the wastewater collection and treatment system were important factors in the decision to sell the Lake Monticello service company in 1998,” said Catherine Neelley, general manager of the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association, in a statement. “The fact that the DEQ consent order, which has been in place since 1994, has been lifted is excellent news for Lake Monticello property owners and the health of our local waterways.”
“Our achievements at Lake Monticello reflect Aqua’s focus on putting our customers first and our commitment to doing the job right,” Shannon V. Becker, president of Aqua Virginia, said in a statement. “The improvements we’ve made translate into better, more reliable service for our customers and a cleaner environment for generations to come. We appreciate the state’s recognition of our efforts.”
The company said upgrades have improved the overall reliability of the system for customers by providing generators for backup power to lift stations and reducing the amount of storm water that unnecessarily makes its way to the treatment plant. Aqua also has removed more nutrients from the treated wastewater that’s dispersed into the stringently regulated Chesapeake Bay watershed and enhanced safety features around the plant.
Aqua also owns and operates Lake Monticello’s drinking water system. It said it has spent more than $5 million on improvements to the water treatment plant and distribution system since acquiring the system in 2003.