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Authority seeks water grants

Halifax County Service Authority Board of Directors is seeking grant funding to improve water flow, management and quality of its existing water system.

Board members adopted three resolutions for Virginia Department of Health of Drinking Water planning grant applications during their meeting Thursday afternoon in the conference room of the authority’s offices located on Houghton Avenue in South Boston.

The first resolution adopted seeks a $50,000 grant to prepare a preliminary engineering report for interconnecting lines in South Boston to improve system flow reliability.

According to Executive Director Willie Jones, this report will determine the feasibility and costs associated with providing further distribution system improvements, additional interconnections and loop lines within the Town of South Boston.  

Jones said completing this project would ensure continued delivery of safe, reliable drinking water service to customers in the service area.

The board adopted a second resolution for a $50,000 grant to develop a preliminary asset management system for the Halifax Water System that will be used to obtain engineering and technical assistance to inventory and prioritize critical infrastructure improvements needed within the service area.

The board also adopted a third resolution for another $50,000 grant to prepare a preliminary engineering report addressing water quality issues and improvements to the Halifax water system.

Jones said the report would investigate conditions contributing to compromised water quality in the town and evaluate alternatives for potential improvement to water distribution facilities.

In other action Thursday afternoon, the board elected officers for the 2012-2013 year. Board Chair Dexter Gilliam, Vice Chair Coleman Speece and Secretary/Treasurer Willie Jones will continue in their respective positions in the coming year.

 Also during the meeting, Jones updated directors on Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project grant applications.

 The authority has requested $40,000 from the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project to evaluate an existing submersible sewer pump station in need of an upgrade if it is to continue efficiently serving customers in the service area. 

The pump station is a critical operational component for the industrial park and the job-generating industries that depend on the sewer service to operate, according to Jones.  

This project would include an evaluation of the existing facility and development of a financially feasible solution.

The authority also has requested $30,000 from the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project to evaluate and upgrade the supervisory control and data acquisition system. 

Jones said the existing system is more than 20 years old, and reliability has become an issue. Parts needed are not available, and the functionality and monitoring capabilities need to be improved.

The authority has requested another $30,000 from the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project to upgrade system data for the water and sewer systems.  

According to Jones, the data has not been evaluated in over five years, and the efficiency and quality of service provided to customers depends greatly on accurately mapping and locating all water and sewer system features. Jones said without the updated data, maintenance and operation would be challenging.

In other business, Jones gave the board an update on the Maple Avenue Waste Water Treatment Project, the NOVI Interconnection Project and the Leigh Street Waste Water Treatment Plant Solid Diversion.

Construction activity is taking place at the Maple Avenue facility, and line construction for the NOVI Interconnection Project is nearly complete. The final layout for the Leigh Street Solid Diversion is almost complete, and all the construction work will be done on site, he explained. 

The board discussed plans for a strategic retreat to review financial issues, infrastructure needs, personnel issues and policy and practices but decided to finalize the details for the retreat after they speak with the retreat facilitator.

Jones informed the board about a Virginia Department of Health uranium mining discussion group he attended in Chatham earlier this month.  

According to Jones, the purpose of the meeting was to provide the Virginia Department of Health with ideas on what items should be included in the uranium mining regulations with respect to water quality issues.

Jones also updated the board on efforts of the policy committee and informed members about an invitation from NOVI. 

Jones also discussed the June and July finance reports.

Following the meeting, the board went into closed session to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken.