Surry may vote Thursday on HRSD

Published 12:52 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

By Matt Leonard

Staff Writer

SURRY — The Surry County Board of Supervisors will vote Thursday night on whether to approve Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s entrance into Surry County.

If the measure is approved, HRSD would move forward with petitioning the Surry County Circuit Court. A judge would ultimately make the decision on the transfer of wastewater assets from the county to HRSD.

The judge would make the decision after hearing from interested parties.

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At the Board of Supervisors meeting earlier this month, Supervisor Judy Lyttle voiced concern over the amount of information the board had heading into a vote on the project. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}”

Board Chairman John Seward said County Administrator Tyrone Franklin has worked with board members to get them more information heading into their vote this week.

Seward said he expects the initiative to pass. Three of the five board members would have to vote in favor for the project to continue.

In an interview earlier this month, Ted Henifin, HRSD’s general manager, said HRSD wants to petition the court by April to allow for assets to be transferred by July, 1 (the beginning of the fiscal year). If the resolution passes, then this timeline could continue.

The Board will also be voting on a resolution to recognize Edwards Virginia Smokehouse on their 90th anniversary. The business has been attempting to recover from a fire earlier this year and has voiced strong support for HRSD.

Sam Edwards, the owner of Edwards Virginia Smokehouse, has said without HRSD it might have to leave Surry. Edwards said earlier this week that if the Board approves the transfer then it would be early enough to not delay the company’s plans to rebuild.

He said the company still hasn’t received the green light from its insurance company, so rebuilding can’t start until that happens anyway.

County Administrator Tyrone Franklin has touted this plan as a way to help the county bring in needed economic development. The current wastewater system can’t handle much more flow and a large business could put it at or over capacity, Franklin has said.

If HRSD takes over the wastewater operations then they will be required to provide the capacity needed by the county if it grows, Henifin said.

Henifin made his original pitch to the Surry County Board of Supervisors at their February meeting.

HRSD currently processes 249 million gallons of water everyday with nine treatment plants between 17 cities or counties.

The County of Surry would only have to pick up cost in the project if it decided to expand their collection system, which is up to the county, Henifin said. All cost associated with the treatment of water would be covered by HRSD.

All liability associated with water treatment will be taken on by HRSD if assets are transferred. Unless the county caused a problem that wasn’t discovered until HRSD came in, Henifin said.  {/mprestriction}