Sewage Facility Will Not Be Built in Woolen Mills

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has voted to build a new sewage facility not in the Woolen Mills neighborhood, but instead a short distance away, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. A bare majority of the board voted to build it a short distance away, in a less populous area, rather than expand the unpopular existing facility in the Woolen Mills. Neighborhood residents complained that the new building would be enormous, totally out of scale for the neighborhood, and exacerbate the longtime problem of the terrible smell. County RSWA board members are unhappy about the cost of this option, with Supervisor Ken Boyd calling on the city to voluntarily pay the $13M difference. The new facility is necessary because the existing one cannot handle peak capacity, overflowing sewage into the Rivanna.

10 Responses to “Sewage Facility Will Not Be Built in Woolen Mills”


  • (Hey Waldo- Virginia Code below)

    Virginia Sewage Collection and Treatment Regulations (VSCAT) section:

    9VAC25-790-380 Sewage pumping.

    …directly addresses several of our concerns

    A. Features. Sewage pump stations should be located as far as practicable from present or proposed builtup residential areas, and an all-weather road shall be provided. Stations should have a proper zone of controlled or limited use surrounding them. Within such zones, residential uses or high density human activities or activities involving food preparation should be prevented. Provisions for noise control and odor control, and station architectural design should conform to site requirements. Sites for stations shall be of sufficient size for future expansion or addition, if applicable.

  • When you step back and think about it, it’s pretty ridiculous that RWSA even considered placing the upgraded sewage facility here … in a residential neighborhood … in a city park … in a floodplain. The extra cost is a one-time payment that can be amortized into rates for a few years. A sewage pump in this location would have exerted a very negative effect on many people for a long time.

    As far as who should pay:

    Boyd’s insistence that the city should pay the difference between the options implies that the county has a basic right to dump their sewage wherever they please, and thus, any alteration of that right is the responsibility of city residents to cover. No way. Boyd wants the benefits of residential growth in the county, which is why any of these upgrade options are needed at all, while passing as much of the cost, if not the smell, onto city residents as possible.

  • I agree with tehe people who say that RWSA should be dissolved. The County is getting rid of its Camelot facility rather than upgrade it because that cost would not be shared by the city rate payers. It has insisted that a much larger sewer line be run from Stonefield shopping center, through the city, to the Moore’s Creek facility. The City rate payers is helping to pay for this. The County was also planning to run sewage from the 3,100-home Biscuit Run development to the facility in Woolen Mills. It is planning to run the sewage from northern Albemarle’s North Pointe to this facility. That is why there is a need for extra capacity at the treatment center in the first place. Too bad the City does not have enough sense to get rid of RWSA. The city is being out played by a small town hustler, Ken Boyd, and a former City Manager who could not do a good job managing.

  • Kudos to the RWSA’s city board reps (Brown, Mueller, and Jones), who were unwavering in their support of us. We’re also grateful to Mike Gaffney for his swing vote in our direction. What’s surreal to me is that there were three RWSA board members (Boyd, Foley, and O’Connell) who voted to keep the facility in a residential neighborhood, and actually did so with straight faces and what seemed to be a complete lack of conscience.

    Listening to the ACSA board meetings where this issue was discussed was eye-opening, to say the least. Is there another board in the Cville area so completely out of touch with the citizenry, and so snide and dismissive in its tone when discussing civic matters? One must assume that the members are taking their cues from Mr O’Connell. Surely there must be a better alternative to the RWSA and ACSA?

  • If you think the county is playing hardball on the pump station cost share wait till you see the dam plan cost share. City residents will see their water rates rise, lose valuable assets, and pay for county growth.

    If you read the article in the Daily Progress, and have even a rudimentary knowledge of math you will see the facts are clear- not muddy as Ms Mueller would have us believe- the city will end up owning less water in 50 years and pay more.

    Ms. Mueller is not dumb, but why isn’t she sticking up for the city ? And what are Huja and Szakos thinking ? Do they understand the gravity of what they are about to do ? I sure hope Ms. Galvin is smarter than this and doesn’t sacrifice city residents for county growth.

    Many like to say we are one community, but politically we are not, and city residents should not be charged for new infrastructure for county growth, and hand over control of their assets. That is a political and financial recipe for disaster for the City.

    http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2011/dec/31/some-fear-charlottesvilles-share-water-supply-will-ar-1579571/

  • Why isn’t UVA kicking in any cash for this project? And why should UVA’s usage count against the city allocation? Kudos to our city councilors for falling for this scam!

  • What I’m hearing is that city councilors: Huja, Galvin, and Szakos are ready to sign on to this lousy water cost share deal. The only thing worse than their support is that Judy Mueller and Maurice Jones aren’t screaming from the rooftops that the City is about to commit the largest, dumbest, giveaway of city assets and make their own citizens pay for it with higher water bills in the future.

    Is there any legal recourse for fiscal irresponsibility of this order ?

  • Q: “Is there any legal recourse for fiscal irresponsibility of this order ?”

    A: Nothing short of possibility in placing a (yes or no)question for the dissolution of the RWSA on next November’s ballot. Ironically, this could only be a binding referendum – if the same question is on referendum in both city and the county too. In just the city or county alone, it would be unbinding and only effectively serve as a vote of either confidence or non-confidence in the RWSA.

  • Thanks Frank, do you know how one could get this on the ballot?

    I don’t think the county citizens or city, once they see their water and sewer bills skyrocket, and realize the RWSA is abandoning the South Fork for water supply and making ratepayers pay for recreational dredging ( maybe ) and destroying Ragged Mt. Natural Area at a far greater cost than maintaining the infrastructure they have, once they are aware of what is really going on, I doubt they will want the RWSA anymore. Instead of this 30-40 million dollar pump station they could be spending that on existing infrastructure and new technology to deal with the problem. The RWSA is a dinosaur and needs to be made extinct !

    Both entities would benefit from dredging South Fork instead of building a dam and uphill electric pipeline, but citizen interests have been trumped by special interests from the Nature Conservancy and the development community. I think a referendum of the citizens would succeed in bringing an end to the corruption that has taken hold of this agency. And an end to RWSA

  • Dede Smith is the only Councilor, along with Dave Norris, who understands the concept of protecting City interests. Great idea she has to train city staff in the art of negotiating – they sure need it !

    http://www.wina.com/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=5623926

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