Long-stalled Claremont water upgrade to break ground

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

A long-stalled upgrade of Claremont’s water system is scheduled to break ground on June 12. 

Claremont’s Town Council voted unanimously on March 27 to award a $3.2 million contract to Waco Inc. According to bid documents, the work will include construction of a new 30,000 gallon water tower, 240-square-foot pump station and more than 11,000 linear feet of water mains along Slope Point and River roads.

Town Councilwoman Louise Hansch said the groundbreaking will be held at 9 a.m. at the well house on River Road.

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“This is to give us the capacity we need,” Hansch said.

A roughly 22,000-gallon rusted tank on Mancha Avenue that once held the town’s drinking water hasn’t been used since 1983, according to Virginia Department of Health records. In 2012, the VDH warned town officials that Claremont’s waterworks had more than 300 users tied into a system that, even with the circa-1983 tower in service, would have capacity for only 193 residential connections. But a plan to replace the old tower, until last year, remained stalled.

The work will be funded by a state grant. The council, according to its recorded meeting minutes, voted in April 2023 to accept a $3.2 million grant from the VDH Office of Drinking water and authorize Mayor Daryl Graham to sign the funding agreement. At that same meeting, the council voted to raise the minimum rate billed to water customers from $30.92 per month to $35.92, or 16%, and commit to 2% annual raises to $36.62 in 2024-25, $37.37 in 2025-26 and $38.12 by 2026-27.