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Victoria begins sewer system upgrades

The Virginia Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) has given the Town of Victoria three years to fix issues with its wastewater treatment facilities.

According to Victoria Town Manager Rodney Newton the town has entered into a consent order with the DEQ that will eventually result in fines for the town for exceeding discharge limitations at the wastewater treatment facilities.

Rodney Newton

“Those fines have not been levied at this time as the consent order is going through its formal process at DEQ,” Newton said Monday, Dec. 21.

Earlier this year DEQ fined the town just over $4,000 but later reduced the fine to $2,310.

Newton said the compliance issues dealt with ammonia at the West facility and copper at the East facility.

The town contracted with B & B Consultants to complete a preliminary engineering report on the town’s wastewater treatment facilities and the options available for the town.  During this study it was identified that the town has a significant issue with rainwater getting into the sewer system.

According to Newton as part of the consent order the town was given time to study the inflow and infiltration issue in the infrastructure that feeds into the west treatment facility by conducting smoke testing.

Smoke testing is the process of using a fan and non-toxic smoke to find openings in a sewer system,” Newton said. “And the majority of the smoke testing has been completed on the west part of the town’s infrastructure.

Newton said many minor issues were found.

Currently plans are to rebuild 300 plus feet of sewer line on W. 7th Street between Mecklenburg Avenue and Tidewater Avenue beginning the middle of January, weather permitting with another 300 plus feet of sewer line is planned to be replaced on Lunenburg Avenue between W. 8th Street and W. 9th Street.

Newton said all of the work is planned to be completed by town forces with the assistance of contractors if needed.

“Both of these projects will also include the replacement of some older manhole structures,” he said. “Once these repairs are made, further monitoring will continue to identify any other large sources of water entering the system.”

Starting in 2021 Newton said the inflow at the West and East treatment facilities will be monitored to verify reduction in storm water in the sewer system.

“Once it has been determined that the rainwater in the system has been decreased, the town will look at the options of closing the West facility and pumping that waste to the East facility for treatment or to make upgrades to the West facility,” Newton said.

Newton has said the East facility does have the capacity to handle the town’s entire wastewater treatment needs.

According to the minutes of Victoria’s August 11 Town Council meeting, the cost will be between $3.1 million and $3.5 million. Newton is working to get grants to help offset the cost of the project.

One grant has been finalized with the federal government.