( 0 Votes )

photo: ©istockphoto.com/sara winter photographyIt only took 24 minutes for Fluvanna and the Louisa board of supervisors to hash out a proposal – still in its early stages – that would bring water to the Zion Crossroads area.
At the meeting Tuesday (March 19), Louisa offered to pay for the $50 to $55 million project that would include an approximate eight-mile pipeline that will run from the James River at Columbia to a water treatment plant in Ferncliff at Louisa.
But details are still vague about the cost, if any, when Fluvanna decides to tap into the pipeline. Willie Harper, the chairman of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors, sidestepped questions about how much Fluvanna could be charged. “The devil’s in the details,” Harper said “But we’re willing to go in and build the line ourselves. Hopefully there will be an agreement.”
Fluvanna Board Chairman Shaun Kenney said he thought it shouldn’t cost anything for Fluvanna to tap into the line. “The trade off is they’re running it (the pipeline) through the backbone of our county,” he said.
“We are committed to the James River project,” said Kenney. “If Louisa County is willing to pay for the pipeline, then there is not much else we need to discuss.”
Louisa County also requested an additional vote on the James River Water Authority which would oversee the building of the pipeline. Currently there are three members from each county on the Authority – which could lead to a stalemate if issues are raised. Kenney said that request by Louisa was denied.
The original agreement was to split the cost of the pipeline evenly until Fluvanna supervisors killed the project in 2010. The project has been debated for over a decade.
Kenney said the “finer details are yet to be hashed out,” and the state Department of Environmental Quality has to approve taking water out of the James at Columbia. The pipeline would be buried adjacent to the Colonial gas pipeline right-of-way, Kenney said. The whole project could take five years though Louisa wants it to start immediately. It could provide over 1.5 million gallons of water daily to the area and eventually eastward to Gum Springs.
“The most important thing is Louisa committing to the idea. If they’re willing to pay for it, then go,” said Kenney. Louisa is hard up for water. That’s why the conversation went well.”
Harper said the county does need water in that area. “We’ve reached the maximum in terms of water down there.”
Meanwhile, Kenney said that Fluvanna is still looking at multiple options to bring water to Zion Crossroads which is slated as the county’s growth area for manufacturing, retail and mixed use development. Those options include paying Aqua Virginia to run water from its water system at Lake Monticello, which could provide 500,000 to one million gallons daily or run an eight mile pipeline from the treatment plant owned by the state Department of Corrections at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for women to Zion. It could provide up to $100,000 gallons a day.
But Harper said his county doesn’t want to keep debating how to get water to that high-growth area. “We don’t want to put this off any longer.”
“Both sides will have to give and take,” said Harper. “We want this to move on down the road.”
– Carlos Santos contributed to this story