Town to close wastewater plant

Published 3:26 pm Friday, April 15, 2022

The Victoria Town Council has voted to close the west wastewater plant.

In 2020, the Virginia Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) fined the Town of Victoria for non-compliance with discharge limitations at its two wastewater treatment plants.

During that time, both the town’s east and the west sewer treatment facilities were out of compliance with the standards of the DEQ.

Discharge permits for both facilities are issued by the DEQ. These permits must be renewed every five years.

Due to issues, Victoria’s Town Council was faced with the choice of upgrading both the east and west facilities or upgrading the east and closing the west facility.

During the March town council meeting, Victoria Town Manager Rodney Newton said the town had until Dec. 31, 2023, to make corrections but suggested closing the west wastewater plant to meet the requirements of the DEQ and recommended a hybrid model that the town will be responsible for managing.

“The west facility has now become a major concern for the Town of Victoria,” Newton said. “Due to the processes used at the west facility, there is an extremely high probability that this facility will not be able to meet more stringent discharge requirements that will likely come with the discharge permit renewal in 2024. With that possibility looming in the future, the town is working with VADEQ to develop a plan that will be financially and environmentally responsible for the town, its citizens, and the environment.”

According to town council documents, town officials plan to utilize American Rescue Plan Funds to cover the costs of the force main, closing the west wastewater plant, replacing a bar screen, pista grit, and renovating the old UV building at an estimated cost of $1,144,340.

In addition, Newton recommended contracting out the pump station building and chemical feed systems at the east wastewater plant at an estimated cost of $1,195,538.

The west wastewater treatment facility located at the end of Grove Avenue was constructed in the early 1990s and is permitted to process an average of 200,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

The east wastewater treatment facility located at the end of Fifth Street was constructed in 1995 and rehabilitated in 2008.

This facility is permitted to process an average of 400,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

According to Newton, discharge requirements of wastewater treatment facilities are becoming more stringent to protect the environment.

“All elements monitored have minimum or maximum requirements established by the Department of Environmental Quality,” Newton said.   

Newton said elements monitored at the discharge point vary from facility to facility.

The west facility is monitored for pH, biological oxygen demand, total suspended solids, dissolved oxygen, chlorine, and ammonia.

The east facility is monitored for pH, total suspended solids, dissolved oxygen, E. coli, zinc, copper, ammonia, and biological oxygen demand.

Testing of the discharge of the facilities is conducted by Town of Victoria Wastewater Department personnel.

The laboratory expense averages $2,500 per month for both facilities.

According to Newton, a recently completed preliminary engineering report details changes that need to be made to meet the current DEQ consent order and the future permitting requirements. The cost of the project includes the construction of a wastewater pump station at the site of the existing west facility and a 6,000-foot forced sewer main to convey sewage to the east facility for treatment.

“Following completion of the pump station and force main, the west facility will be decommissioned, drained and covered,” Newton said. “There will also be upgrades and updates to the east facility. Two large pieces of equipment that are vital to the removal of trash and grit from the raw sewage are planned to be rebuilt or replaced. Process equipment will also be added to the east facility to treat the wastewater more efficiently.”

At first, the town was looking at a $5 million price tag for the project, but through research and planning, the cost of this project has now been reduced to approximately $2 million.

“Much of this savings will be due to the efforts of Town of Victoria personnel,” Newton said. “This personnel will be performing many aspects of this project instead of contracting them out.”