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Residents hear Banister Shores water plan

The Halifax County Service Authority (HCSA) held an information meeting for the residents of the Banister Shores subdivision following its regular monthly meeting Thursday afternoon in the public meeting room of the Mary Bethune Complex in Halifax. The purpose of the information meeting was to review the proposed route for the waterline and receive feedback from residents about any concerns or problems observed.

Residents of Banister Shores who are connecting to the waterline had the opportunity to discuss the preferred routing of their service lines with HCSA officials at that time.

Gary McCollum, program manager for Draper Aden Associates, explained the process of the project to the residents, and he and HCSA Executive Director Willie Jones answered residents’ questions.

McCollum said the final design for the project is to be completed by Nov. 12. He explained from that point the plan would be sent to the Department of Health for approval, and final permitting would be completed. He also said the project would be put out for contractors’ bids sometime after the first of 2011.

Once the bids are in place, McCollum said they would be able to award contracts for the project, with concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). After that, he said the contractors should be ready to begin work in about a month’s time, so that would mean the beginning of February.

McCollum said Draper Aden allotted a five to six month period for construction, which would see completion of construction by about the end of July. He said DEQ requires all funds to be expended by Sept. 30.

McCollum said they have built in a buffer of time to make sure all paperwork is complete, yard restorations have been done, everything has been done to a completed stage, and then funds can be released to the contractor.

Jones told the residents there are a number of stipulations involved with federal programs, and this project is being funded primarily by “stimulus” money. He said it usually takes longer for the bid process and to get the paperwork complete than in other types of projects.

McCollum and Jones then took questions from the Banister Shores residents and asked them to pick up copies of aerial views of their properties in order to mark where they would prefer to have the waterline run from the main line to hook onto their existing line.
During its regular meeting, the HCSA awarded the contract for the meter change-out project in the Town of Halifax.

Jones said Atlantic Utility Systems from Roanoke submitted the low bid of $122,656, with other bids coming from HD Supply and Virginia Carolina Paving. He said in addition to price, HCSA staff evaluated the bids on the suitability and compatibility of the product with the HCSA’s current systems.

Jones said this project replaces the old meters with new radio-read meters that should significantly improve efficiency and will save between three and four days of labor for each reading cycle.

The director explained there is $67,902 remaining in the State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) pool to do the work, along with $55,360 matching funds already budgeted by the HCSA, for a total of $123,262 in available funds for the project.

Jones said there would be minimal inconvenience to Halifax residents and no disturbance of property. He said residents would be required to turn off their water heaters when the contractor installs the new meter on their property, but they would be notified ahead of time when the work would be done. He said he hopes the project will be completed by January.

In other business, Jones reported on the water supply plan. He said the county has received an additional $10,000 grant from the DEQ. Jones said they have prepared an inventory of water uses, basically information from each of the different public water systems and estimates of the private water use in the county.

Jones said they also have had to prepare a drought management plan be tailored to local needs and have to prepare a 50-year projection of water demand in the county.

The executive director also said the Virginia Tobacco Commission has approved a grant of $396,000 to assist with improvement of the wastewater system.

That grant would be the match funds for the $485,000 grant provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the project.