Shenandoah supervisors OK wastewater deal with regional jail

^ Posted Dec. 11

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK -- Shenandoah County plans to help the area's next regional jail handle its sanitary sewer output to comply with state regulations.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an amended version of a nutrient offset agreement between the Stoney Creek Sanitary District and the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Authority. The agreement allows the jail authority to buy credits from the sanitary district to offset the requirements imposed under state regulations.

Under the deal, Stoney Creek would offer to the jail a temporary allocation of 515 pounds of nitrogen and 53 pounds of phosphorus per year from 2013-2017. The agreement also sets the price for those pounds and requires the jail to pay the sanitary district $3,909.84 each year unless the Department of Environmental Quality changes the rates.

Director of Public Utilities Rodney McClain explained the benefits for such an agreement.

"In the long run, it's a whole lot cheaper by pounds than to go to limit-of-technology or beyond in building the plant, and that's what a lot of us are doing right now," McClain said. "It's a friendly thing. It's common sense."

The regional jail authority is weighing options to handle the facility's sanitary sewer output.

The authority board and supervisors signed off on an option allowing the jail to buy credits from the Stoney Creek Sanitary District. The Board of Supervisors governs the county's sanitary districts.

The jail authority began pursuing the option when Front Royal advised the town would not accept the wastewater generated by the facility's laundry operations.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality requires that the regional jail file for a discharge permit. However, the agency also would not allow the filing of the permit until an offset agreement is put in place, according to County Administrator Douglas Walker. The offset agreement was necessary for the RSW jail authority to continue its due diligence, Walker explained.

Supervisors had approved the initial agreement at their Nov. 27 meeting. The jail authority board did the same two days later. However, supervisors needed to approve an amended version of the agreement because the amount of pounds for nitrogen increased as the amount in phosphorous decreased.

The RSW Authority may need to consider the change in pounds in the future though that remains more of an issue with the sanitary district, according to Walker. The dollar amount the jail authority will pay to the sanitary district fluctuates with the number of pounds and rates set by DEQ, Walker explained.

Whether the agreement needs further amendments depends on the DEQ. The administrator said he believes the DEQ is satisfied with the process thus far.

In other business, the board:

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or

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