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Concerns raised over regional jail wastewater disposal

By Alex Bridges

Front Royal may renew an offer to treat wastewater for the regional jail in Warren County.

Concerns over the dumping of the jail's wastewater into a nearby stream spurred a councilman to ask the town to revisit a plan that would allow the jail to connect to the town wastewater treatment system.

Councilman Thomas H. Sayre made a motion at the Town Council meeting Monday to allow the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail to use its central rain collection and distribution system only in connection with the purpose of flushing toilets, heating-ventilation-air conditioning system and laundry facilities. The town manager or a designee would first need to approve the systems that are in conformance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design initiative as well as other regulations and standards, Sayre said. The RSW Regional Jail Authority also would need to pay connection fees.

However, Sayre could not muster a unanimous support to add his motion to the agenda. Councilman Eugene Tewalt said he needed more information about the LEEDS program before he could vote in favor of putting the motion on the agenda.

In response to Tewalt's concerns, Sayre asked Town Manager Steven Burke to put the item on the council's next work session and to invite County Administrator Douglas Stanley to talk about the LEEDS program.

Sayre told members he and Councilman Hollis L. Tharpe recently visited the area of McKay Springs and the site where the proposed wastewater treatment plant for the jail would release the effluent.

"They've indicated a discharge would not affect our water in McKay Springs," Sayre stated. "However, due to the fact that they are purchasing credits from a neighboring county there will be increased amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen that the town would have to remove as part of treatment for our drinking water.

The "dry discharge" is in a wetlands area that would need protection, Sayre explained.

"That will come into the spring with little dissolution," Sayre stated.

McKay Springs can supply approximately 750,000 gallons of water per day, according to Sayre.

"That's something that we're planning on using in the future and the added phosphorous and nitrogen is not good, and it's also not good for the people who presently use McKay Springs," Sayre said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


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