Mandated projects for two of the Nelson County Service Authority’s wastewater treatment plants in Wintergreen and Schuyler are facing early delays, lending to the frustration of the authority’s board of directors.
According to George Miller, the authority’s executive director, the Wintergreen and Schuyler plant projects — both of which are facing consent orders by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality — could be delayed by months as the authority works with its partners to complete necessary paperwork.
“It seems like the parking brake has been set on the Schuyler project and the Wintergreen project,” Miller told board members at a June 17 meeting.
For the Wintergreen Wastewater Treatment Plant project, Miller said the Stormwater Management Plan reviewed by DEQ received almost two-dozen recommended changes before the review and approval process can continue.
Currently, the authority’s engineering consulting firm CHA Consulting Inc. is in the process of addressing those recommendations.
The authority is facing a voluntary consent order for its Wintergreen plant to complete to replace worn-out and ineffective equipment in complying with changing regulations in the limits of nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia. Having served the community since 1973, the work is estimated to cost roughly $14 million.
Originally anticipated to advertise for bid in May, that process has been delayed to the July 4 weekend. Miller said, however, the authority’s engineering firm believes the list of issues can be addressed and the scope of work can be advertised by that time.
Miller said the plan was to break ground on the project Aug. 1, but that timeline has changed to the fall.
“I’m not very optimistic about the deadlines because we always seem to receive more delays,” Miller said.
Vice Chair Justin Shimp expressed concerns over meeting that deadline, noting it could take a months to approve a stormwater management plan that was dated May 26. He said the environmental concerns surrounding the project could potentially speed up the process.
West District board member David Hight asked if the board should send an official letter to the engineering firm expressing their concerns and frustrations over the delays.
“I think they need to explain to us why they’re not getting the job done,” Hight said.
Regarding the Schuyler Wastewater Treatment Plant — a project which requires a complete replacement of the system’s antiquated wastewater treatment plant facility’s infrastructure and serves 44 customers — the engineer with CHA has requested an extension from DEQ regarding the bid advertisement date that was slated for July 31.
Miller said this was the result of an April discovery of a collapsed sewer submain and the advertisement needs to include that scope of work. He said the request went to DEQ at the end of May and is awaiting an update as of the June 17 meeting.
“It feels like we’re going in circles ...,” East District board member Jesse Rutherford said. “It’s frustrating.”
The project is estimated to cost $4.3 million and is being funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, which covers 75% of the costs. The remaining 25% is covered by loans.