HRSD proposes to cross James River with sewer line

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Hampton Roads Sanitation District plans to run a sewer line under the James River to treat wastewater from Surry County as part of its takeover of town and county facilities.  

That has turned out to be the most cost-effective solution, said HRSD General Manager Ted Henifin. 

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The total project is estimated to cost $16.5 million, according to Henifin. 

The project is already built into HRSD’s rates, and those are projected to increase over the next several years as previously reported, but this project will not impact those previously projected increases, said Henifin.  {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

In a 2016 letter to Surry County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Seward, Henifin provided a rate projection through 2022, and in that year would put the minimum monthly bill at $45.53 a month — an increase of 33 percent in five years.

The plan is to pump the “flow” from both the town of Surry and Surry County’s treatment plants to HRSD’s Williamsburg treatment plant, said Henifin.

The tentative route would be along Route 31, but an exact crossing across the river had not been determined, he said. 

“The crossing will be done with directional drilling technology and will place the line deep under the river bottom.  We have crossings under the York River and Elizabeth River so we have experience with constructing such facilities,” said Henifin in an email.

Another solution was to run a line from Isle of Wight County up Route 10, but is still the most expensive solution and so it wasn’t pursued, said Henifin. 

“Should the preliminary engineering report identify insurmountable challenges with the Williamsburg option, we may need to revisit this, but that is unlikely at this time,” said Henifin.

The original plan was to upgrade the county’s treatment plant and close the town plant and treat both at that location, but further analysis pointed to Williamsburg as the better solution, said Henifin. 

The goal is to pipe the town flow to Williamsburg by late 2020, and the county’s by the end of 2021, he said. 

A preliminary engineering report is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, said Henifin. 

The Surry Board of Supervisors approved the plans for piping the wastewater under the James River, said Surry County Administrator Tyrone Franklin.  

Over the past two years, the town of Surry and Surry County ceded its wastewater facilities to HRSD after much discussion and debate. 

Surry County also owns the town of Dendron’s system. The town of Claremont opted not to join the transfer to HRSD.  {/mprestriction}