“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.
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.”