RWSA board gives O.K. to dredging study

At its regular meeting yesterday, the board of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) gave the go-ahead to a dredging feasability study at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. The board, along with Charlottesville’s City Council, had approved the idea of a dredging study back in March. At yesterday’s meeting, Executive Director Tom Frederick reported on progress made so far: RWSA has reviewed proposals from various firms, chosen HDR Engineering to conduct the study, and negotiated with HDR as to the scope and cost of the study.

Frederick explained that HDR had presented several options, based on including or eliminating certain public hearings from the study process, as well as a "beneficial use of sediment analysis" meant to discover what might be done with material once it is removed from the reservoir. On October 5, City Council voted to fund a study that did not include a beneficial use analysis. (The cost of that study component would be roughly $25,000.)

Frederick told the board he doubted that such a study would satisfy citizens who have pushed dredging as a possible alternative to the water supply plan approved by local officials in 2006. However, he said that HDR could get started on the first part of the study—which will focus on describing the reservoir and the sediment—while discussion continues about funding a beneficial use analysis.

Also at issue: $8,880 needed to fund a public hearing during the middle of the study. (Another hearing, already funded, will fall at the end of the study.) RWSA board member and Albemarle County Service Authority Executive Director, Gary Fern, offered ACSA money to cover this hearing. With that, the board voted unanimously that HDR can proceed with the dredging study, with a cost of $343,778.

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