More water lines envisioned

Published 12:26 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2015

By Diana McFarland

News editor

A third water line has been proposed to help satisfy Isle of Wight County’s quest to use the water from the notorious $146 million Norfolk water deal.

Isle of Wight County Administrator Anne Seward plans to draft a letter, to be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, to the Western Tidewater Water Authority informing that body that the county wants to construct a water line along Route 460 for the intermodal park and another along Route 10 to Benn’s Grant.

Also in the works is the water line to Gatling Pointe along Nike Park Road.

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The plans were discussed Thursday at the Board of Supervisor’s annual retreat.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The county already had plans to build the Route 460 line to the intermodal park. That line was part of the Norfolk water deal that was signed in 2009. With 65 percent of the design completed, the estimated $3.35 million water line would supply up to two million gallons a day of treated water over time, said Isle of Wight Engineer Don Jennings.

Already, the county is committed to providing Western Tidewater Water Authority water to Keurig Green Mountain by 2018, Jennings said. The town of Windsor currently supplies Keurig, and while quality violations with that system have been benign, the company wants water from the WTWA, he added.

The Route 460 water line is funded, Jennings said.

The Route 10 water line, while still in the concept phase, would extend four miles from the city of Suffolk line to the edge of the Benns Grant development for an estimated cost of $3.8 million.

The Benn’s Grant developer would pay for the water line located within the development’s boundaries and to connect it to the existing water line along Brewers Neck Boulevard, said Isle of Wight County spokesman Don Robertson.

That project is not yet funded, Jennings said.

The Route 10 water line would provide an additional water delivery point, provide an emergency connection and allow the use of water from the Western Tidewater Water Authority.

County officials also expressed concern about the water line that currently runs under the Sidney Bertram Hazelwood Dr. Bridge, also known as the Crittenden Bridge, as its 15 years old and vulnerable to corrosion.

Also brought up was the possibility of having the towns of Windsor and Smithfield becoming county water customers. 

The letter is necessary to alert the city of Suffolk of Isle of Wight’s intentions and water needs because both projects include hooking up to the city’s system, Robertson said.

On the other hand, the Gatling Pointe water line is completely within the confines of the county and does not involve the city of Suffolk, Robertson added.

The Gatling Pointe water line is currently scheduled for a public hearing Oct. 7 before the Isle of Wight Planning Commission.

The city of Suffolk is getting frustrated with Isle of Wight because it’s been five years since the water deal was signed and there still are not solid plans in place, said Isle of Wight County Administrator Anne Seward.

“They need to move forward,” Seward said.

During the retreat, former General Services Director Edwin Wrightson urged the supervisors to “stay your course” on the Route 460 and Gatling Pointe water line projects and to trust the “vision” of the county administrator and other staff.

“It’s a build it and they will come situation” at the intermodal park, he said, adding that these projects would serve the county for the next 75 years.

One of the issues concerning the water coming to the intermodal park via the Route 460 water line is that it would be treated water, not raw water often preferred by industry due to its lower cost.

Earlier this year, Smithfield Supervisor Al Casteen, who is also currently the chairman of the WTWA, said it would take about seven years to build a separate line to provide raw water to the intermodal park.

As it would be unlikely that a business would wait seven years for the line to be built, it would be better to seek out businesses that could use treated water instead, such as Keurig Green Mountain, he said.

Isle of Wight County currently uses an average of about 400,000 million gallons a day (mgd) with its 3,100 water customers, with a peak usage of about 600,000 mgd.

Isle of Wight is currently entitled to 3.4 million gallons a day through the Western Tidewater Water Authority through 2053, with the total capacity of about 6.1 mgd at the full implementation of the Norfolk water deal.

The Norfolk water deal, which has raised the ire of residents and county leaders alike, costs Isle of Wight millions of dollars a year and is still, as yet, unutilized.

It was signed before the onset of the Great Recession and was seen as a way to provide water to the, at the time, burgeoning development in the county. {/mprestriction}