By Kaitlin Mayhew -- email@example.com
WOODSTOCK -- The Town Council has agreed to hire an Ashland firm to provide engineering services for a zone study and mapping project of the West End Reservoir Dam.
The council voted unanimously last week to give the town manager permission to sign a contract with Schnabel Engineering Inc. The vote was 5-0, with Councilwoman Alicia Gutshall absent.
The project consists of developing a report that would show which structures would be flooded if the dam were to be breached, said Angela Clem, assistant town planner and risk manager for the town.
The study will include roads, bridges, houses, barns and accessory structures.
The reservoir dam, also known as the Little Stony Creek Dam, holds about 18 million gallons of water.
According to Clem, the analysis is required by the Department of Conservation and Recreation to meet the standards set by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.
"Inundation studies are very common now throughout the commonwealth, and to my knowledge are required on all privately owned and publicly owned dams," Clem said. "It then allows for the locality and/or the owner to put together a more comprehensive emergency action plan."
The town put out an official request for proposals in October, and received a variety from interested engineering firms, Clem said.
The proposals were then reviewed by Clem, the water and sewer chairman and public works superintendent.
"Schnabel Engineering provides a tremendous amount of dam experience, and our decision was based on that reason, as well as great references from those listed and those in the field," Clem said.
The dam was erected on property owned by the U.S. Forest Service in 1957-1958 in order to supply the town with drinking water. Today, it no longer supplies water to town residents, who now get it from the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, but Clem said the town regularly inspects and maintains the structure for safety reasons.
Schnabel will be able to conduct the study 60-90 days after the field investigation and surveying is finished.
The report will be approved by DCR by September.
Funding for the study will come from the town's budget for this fiscal year as well as a grant that was awarded to the town.