Virginia Sewage Funding Flows into Berryville

“I hope that people realize just how close the new waste water treatment plant was from not happening,” Ward Three Council Member, Mary Daniel said at Wednesday morning’s Berryville Town Council meeting. “If that had happened it would have been very bad for our citizens and for the Shenandoah River.”

The Berryville Town Council unanimously approved spending $21.8M this morning for  construction  of  a new wastewater treatment plan and an additional $1.3M for a  wastewater outfall line to discharge treated effluent into the Shenandoah River. Project funding was made possible through a $11.75M loan guarantee from the Virginia Resources Authority and a $12.1M grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Town water and sewer  rates are expected to spurt  upwards to $17/thousand gallons to cover the costs of the new treatment plant.

The Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act of 1997 was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly to finance nutrient reduction strategies for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Under the Act, Virginia established the “Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund” to assist local governments like Berryville in reducing point source nutrient loads to the Chesapeake Bay (http://www.deq.virginia.gov/bay/wqif.html).
Tucker Conaboy, Vice President for Caldwell & Santmyer, (left) speaks with Berryville Town Manager Keith Dalton and Town Council Member Mary Daniel (Ward Three Council Member)

Tucker Conaboy, Vice President for Caldwell & Santmyer, (left) speaks with Berryville Town Manager Keith Dalton and Town Council Member Mary Daniel (Ward Three Council Member)

Yet, as  recently seen  across the board in other Commonwealth-funded programs, Berryville’s VWQIF grant faced last minute cuts due to declining tax revenues and Virginia’s economic downturn. “The Department of Environmental Quality asked us if we could still build the wastewater treatment facility if funding reduced,” said Berryville Town Manager, Keith Dalton. “I made it clear to Richmond that Berryville could not move forward without the grant.”

Apparently, at times, Richmond  does listen when  rural municipalities speak.

Dalton’s dialogue with the DEQ resulted in Berryville being included as one of nine state-wide “hardship grantees” thus  avoiding a project-stopping 25% funding reduction being administered to other DEQ grant recipients across Virginia. “The great news here is that the $12.1M grant funding cannot be reduced. It also means that Berryville avoids a $3M grant reduction that would have killed the project,” Dalton said.

With funding secured the Town Council voted unanimously to award R.L. Rider & Co. of Warrenton with the outfall line contract and then selected Caldwell & Santmyer, Inc. of Berryville to build the wastewater treatment facility.

“This is a very meaningful award for us” Caldwell & Santmyer Vice President Tucker Canoby said. “In the past we have focused more on government projects like public schools. This project is part of a strategic move into wastewater treatment for us.”

According to Canoby, Caldwell & Santmyer employs about 30 people at its offices on Enders Boulevard in Berryville and has constructed approximately 15 schools in Loudoun County and two elementary schools in Jefferson County.

When asked if Caldwell & Santmyer will be bidding on the future Clarke County High School project Canoby replied, “We’ll see.”

Comments

  1. Esther Trible says:

    I was astounded to read recently that Virginia’s waterways are the second most polluted in the country! Cleaning up Virginia’s water should be a top priority, just below education in the state; in fact, the critical importance of clean water should be included in the public education system. Kudos for Berryville!