MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. - A more than $27 million project that makes sure people have clean drinking water is moving forward.
This comes as county leaders approve a special use permit that allows the New River Valley Water Authority to update its aging facilities.
The expansion is being funded by an increase in rates. Earlier this year, the water authority raised its rates to prepare for the coming construction. If you live in Montgomery County, you saw your water bill go up this year from $7.60 to $8.53 per 1,000 gallons, but executive director Caleb Taylor said the new development is necessary.
"The plant hasn't been updated for 40 years, and typical utilities, if you look at large infrastructure like a water treatment plant, updates are done every 20 to 25 years to keep up with industry standards and technology as it continues to evolve," Taylor said.
Turner said that new technology would include new pumps and new underground water storage containers, but it would also replace some of the old electrical equipment.
"We had an arc-flash study done on the plant and it identified it as a high risk for arc-flash, which is very unsafe for the staff here," Taylor said.
In addition, Taylor said the building has other antiquated features that need to be updated. He said it does not have women's restrooms, and the elevators are not ADA compliant. Supervisors agreed with Taylor's plans Monday evening and voted unanimously to approve the more than $27 million project. It will be funded through a loan from the Virginia Department of Health that will have to be paid back. Taylor says construction will take two years and will be challenging.
"We still have to get water out to our customers and we'll be doing updates in the midst of that, so it's going to be a very complicated and very tedious process," Taylor said.
Taylor said customers will not see a any change in the quality of their water during that time. He said now that the special use permit has been approved, he plans to put the work up for bid to contractors in the spring and hopes to be breaking ground in the summer of 2018.
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