McEachin presents Surry with $3.2M for new school well

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., traveled to Surry County on Saturday to present local officials with a ceremonial check for $3.2 million.

The money is intended to replace a well system serving Surry County Public Schools.

McEachin, whose 4th Congressional District includes Surry County, had announced the funding last year following a meeting of the 2022 House Appropriations Subcommittee of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

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According to McEachin spokesman Shahid Ahmed, the appropriations process typically begins in the spring and results in a final budget bill by the end of the fiscal year in September, though it often takes longer. Due to ongoing negotiations on the federal budget for fiscal year 2022, Congress passed continuing resolutions to keep the government open and avoid a shutdown, Ahmed said, while the parties worked to reach a compromise. President Joe Biden has now signed the Omnibus Appropriations Agreement.

According to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, the groundwater withdrawal permit issued to Surry County Public Schools on Dec. 1, 2017 required the abandonment of either the well serving Surry County High School or the one serving Surry Elementary School by Dec. 1, 2023. The issue involves both wells being gravel-packed, which can impact groundwater quality.

As of last year, the school system was planning to abandon the high school well and defer the replacement of the elementary school well until the next time the school division needs to renew its groundwater permit.