Water, sewer rates may increase

Published 8:12 am Monday, May 9, 2022

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If you live in the Town of Victoria, you could soon be paying higher water and sewer rates.

To help cover some of the costs anticipated by the Town of Victoria’s east wastewater treatment facility upgrades town council has proposed a $1 increase in water rates and a $2 increase in sewer rates for the FY23 budget.

The proposed increases the minimum water rate from $30.50 per month to $31.50 per month.

The proposed increases the minimum sewer rate from $20.50 per month to $22.50 per month.

Over the past few years, the town has been battling issues with its wastewater treatment facilities. So much so that in March, the Victoria Town Council 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.

The DEQ issues discharge permits for both facilities. 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.

It was during the March town council meeting that 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.

According to Newton, a recently completed preliminary engineering report details changes that need to be made to meet the current DEQ consent orders 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.

As part of the proposed water and sewer rate increase, the Victoria Town Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed FY2023 town budget on Tuesday, May 10, at 7 p.m.; at the Victoria Municipal Building.