Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority will get to turn 100

Fifty years ago today, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority was incorporated as a public body, pursuant to what was known as the Virginia Water and Sewer Authorities Act. The body was created at the request of both Charlottesville and Albemarle County. 

“That was for the purpose of managing our reservoirs and dams, our public drinking water, treating that and distributing it, and also treating our sewage,” said Lance Stewart, the director of Facilities and Environmental Services for Albemarle County. 

Under the terms of the incorporation, a term limit of 50 years was imposed but extension could be granted if its member bodies pass resolutions to allow it to continue. 

Bill Mawyer has been the RWSA’s executive director for the past five years and he appeared before both bodies in the past week to make the case for continued existence.

“Our staff works very hard to diligently, professionally, and economically provide water for the greater region of the city and the county, including Crozet, Scottsville, in Red Hill we have a small system,” Mawyer said. “We operate and manage six water supply reservoirs, five water treatment plants, and four wastewater plants.” 

No one spoke at the public hearing in Albemarle and the resolution passed. 

Last night, it was City Council’s turn, but before that public hearing, City Council Clerk Kyna Thomas read the consent agenda which included this item:

“Approving the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority northern area projects allocation agreement, one reading,” Thomas said. 

Consent agenda items are resolutions that are not controversial for which a public conversation isn’t deemed necessary. Capital projects are paid for by ratepayers and each locality pays a share. 

In this case, the agreement lays out that the Albemarle County Service Authority will pay the full costs of new service to increase capacity in the area north of Hollymead Town Center, with the exception of a future storage tank that will hold one million gallons. By the terms of the agreement, the city will pay ten percent of that project because it adds to the system’s overall capacity. 

The city will pay 48 percent of the $2.425 million cost to decommission a water treatment plant on the North Fork of the Rivanna River. 

Details on the plan to decommission the North Fork Water Treatment Plant from the May packet of the RWSA

After holding a public hearing on rates for water, wastewater, and natural gas, it was time for Council to adopt their resolution extending the existence of the RWSA. 

“It’s been 50 years, it expires tomorrow, and so this action is placed here for renewal,” Rogers said. 

No one spoke at City Council’s public hearing, either, and Council concurred with Supervisors to keep the RWSA in business. The RWSA next meets on June 28. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the June 7, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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