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Water authority looks to Banister for backup
SoVaNow.com / July 21, 2014
The Halifax County Service Authority is looking for an alternate source of water to back up its current supply from the Dan River.
HCSA executive director Mark Estes has submitted a preliminary funding request to the Virginia Tobacco Commission to pay for the design and construction of a new intake structure and raw water transmission line from the Banister River in Halifax.
If built, the Halifax intake would serve as a back-up water source for the HCSA, which serves homes, businesses and industries in South Boston, Halifax and many other parts of the county. The full application to the Tobacco Commission is expected to be submitted by the end of October.
Estes explained the request Thursday to members of the HCSA board, citing two recent development that have negatively impacted public water supplies in the region.
The first is the February coal ash spill into the Dan River, which raised public fears of contaminated drinking water. The spill, from the decommissioned Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C. owned by Duke Energy, had no perceptible impact on drinking water quality in downstream communities, but the disaster touched off a negative reaction among household and business consumers.
The second factor that points to the need for a back-up water supply, said Estes, is a request by several North Carolina counties to withdraw up to 15 million gallons of water a day from the Dan River just below Danville in Milton, N.C.
If the withdrawal request is granted, Estes said, it could result in “a critical challenge to assure adequate source water capacity on the Dan River” during periods of sustained drought.
Estes explained, the HCSA owns and operates the Leigh Street water treatment plant in South Boston, which has a three million gallon daily intake from the Dan River. The authority also owns the water treatment plant in the Town of Halifax, with its intake on the Banister River. That second water treatment plant, which has a capacity of 0.22 million gallon per day, is currently not in use.
HCSA is currently requesting a surface water withdrawal permit for up to three million gallons per day from the Banister River in Halifax to provide an alternate water source if its primary source — the Dan River — cannot be effectively tapped.
The backup capacity also would give the HCSA more flexibility to accommodate future growth in the Town of Halifax and along the 501 corridor.
Estes noted that the HCSA has applied to the Virginia Department of Health for a grant to produce a preliminary engineering report. Wiley Wilson Engineers is under contract to discuss with the state’s regulatory agencies any withdrawal limitations, intake permitting requirements and the safe yield of the Banister River.
Engineers also will map a preliminary route to establish a general length and any potential surface improvements that will be crossed in order to come up with a preliminary cost range for development of the line.
Once the HCSA determines the cost of establishing a backup water source in Halifax, it will incorporate the numbers in the Tobacco Commission grant request, which at the present time has not been determined.
In other business on Thursday, HCSA directors were advised that the $13 million upgrade to the Maple Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, which serves the entire urban planning area, will be finally completed by July 26 after undergoing 25 change orders. The project was earlier slated for completion on Oct. 21, 2013.
CommentsWater needed for the future growth of Halifax, really????
- By Future on 07 / 21 / 14
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