Authored by Tiffany Smith, Water Resource Planner
To address existing state and federal Clean Water Act enforcement actions, Hampton Roads localities, the HRPDC, and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) are proceeding with a study to evaluate sewer system asset consolidation. The study will look at alternatives, costs, and benefits of combining local wastewater collection system infrastructure with HRSD’s regional infrastructure. Earlier this year, the 14 localities served by HRSD adopted resolutions expressing support for the study, which will be funded by HRSD and managed by HRPDC. HRPDC has completed the contractor selection process and plans to kick-off the project on August 13, 2012.
Currently, localities own and operate independent wastewater collection systems that deliver flows to HRSD’s system for treatment and disposal. HRSD and the localities are under EPA and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality enforcement actions to reduce the occurrence of sanitary sewer overflows. The total cost of compliance is still being estimated and will likely require hundreds of millions of dollars; the associated rate impacts will be significant. The sewer system consolidation study is the latest step by localities and HRSD to cooperatively identify an action plan for compliance that best serves the rate payer. Consolidation may provide the most cost-effective solution by leveraging resources and economies of scale, optimizing investments for operation and maintenance, and properly sequencing necessary improvements.