The Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; the Town of Smithfield; and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, and York; and the James City Service Authority have been searching for the best solution to address regional wet weather sewer capacity requirements since 2008. Each locality must choose between two approaches by February 28th.
In 2010, HRSD entered into a Federal Consent Decree with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Federal Consent Decree requires that HRSD work with the localities to develop a Regional Wet Weather Management Plan (RWWMP) that will ensure adequate wet weather sewer capacity in HRSD’s portion of the regional sewer system. Localities are under a Special Order by Consent that requires them to develop a RWWMP for their portions of the sewer system.
HRSD and the localities conducted a study to determine if HRSD ownership of the localities’ sewer systems would provide significant capital and operational cost savings to the region’s ratepayers under the RWWMP. The regional study was completed in the summer of 2013 and estimated that one billion dollars could be saved over a 30-year period in capital and operation/maintenance costs as compared to a scenario where HRSD and the Localities independently seek to address wet weather capacity needs.
Localities expressed concerns over transferring ownership and operation of sewer collection system to HRSD in fall of 2013. HRSD developed an option for partial regionalization. HRSD has offered to take sole responsibility for financing and implementing the approved RWWMP across the entire regional sewer system. Localities would retain ownership and operation of their sewer collection systems. This hybrid approach still allows regional ratepayers to benefit from the majority of the savings identified in the regionalization study but doesn’t require complete consolidation of sewer assets.
Each locality must sign the proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by February 28, 2014 in order to move forward with the proposed hybrid plan. If one or more localities decide not to sign the MOA, HRSD and all the Localities will proceed with the current requirements of the Consent Decree and Special Order by Consent.