Upcoming Public Hearing on Nelson Water Sale

In its issue for May 24, 2018, the Nelson County Times reported, Public hearing set on water sale as Service Authority, Atlantic Coast Pipeline near $3.5M deal. The Nelson County Service Authority’s Board of Directors made no decision on a contract with ACP, but at their recent meeting moved forward in the process by setting a public hearing on the water rates set forth in the potential contract, which could result in up to $3.5 million for the Authority. The hearing will take place at 2 p.m. June 21, 2018, at the Service Authority Administrative Building, 620 Cooperative Way, Arrington, VA 22922, in the Colleen Industrial Park.

According to George Miller, the Service Authority’s Executive Director, under the preliminary, “not yet” finalized contract ACP would pay a rate of more than 10 cents per gallon, which is 10 times what all other Service Authority customers in the area pay. Sourcing the water from Lake Monacan at Stoney Creek, the Service Authority would contract to provide 200 gallons per minute, up to 40,000 gallons of water per day from July 2018 through June 2020 at a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. ACP would pay $500,000 for installation and connection of a 3-inch meter (compared to approximately $64,000 connection fee to other customers for a similar meter). Miller said a contract of this size would provide a little more breathing room when it comes to dealing with the authority’s monetary obligations.

The Nelson County Times article notes that, “The contract specifies provision of water is subject to Wintergreen’s water conservation and emergency action plan, which would prioritize the provision of potable water for human consumption in the event of an emergency water shortage.”

The water would primarily be used for the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) process that would bore a path for the pipeline under the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail at Reeds Gap, but could be used for other construction as well. ACP says purchasing water from the Service Authority would eliminate the need to haul in water every day, and that about “10 trips by tankers per day would be eliminated, reducing traffic and wear on Nelson roads.” DEQ requires that all water be treated before discharge, and ACP says that “water that will be used as part of the HDD drilling fluid will be ‘hauled off.'”

No information was provided on how many tanker trips per day would be required to “haul off” the water, nor on where the water would be discharged.

A relevant letter to the editor in the Nelson County Times asks Nelson County officialdom, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, to Think before selling our water.  Another in the Daily Progress says Pipeline negotiations questioned.