Town’s water plant manages flood

As a result of extensive flooding, the town of Woodstock’s water treatment plant was over capacity on Monday.

Town manager Reid Wodicka noted at Tuesday’s council meeting that the plant is built for a capacity of 2 million gallons of water, but that it received 3.5 million gallons on Monday.

“We’re able to capture some of that capacity back in the sewer lines, so we’re not having real trouble with it and the way it treats,” Wodicka said.

Wodicka said the town installed essentially “three trains of production” that “pull the clear water out of the sewage.”

The town alternates operating only one of these trains at a time, but will activate the other two in case of flooding or a situation where the plant might be over capacity, Wodicka said.

If the plant were to flood or the water flow might exceed what it can handle, Wodicka said the town would simply shut down the plant’s intake.

“When the plant was being built in 2009, there was a similar type of event that flooded out the plant and caused several million dollars worth of damage,” Wodicka said, adding that this protocol was put in place to prevent that.

He said the town did not incur substantial additional operating costs — aside from overtime for plant staff — or costs from damage as a result of the extra water the system took in.

Council also voted unanimously to appoint the Charlottesville-based engineering firm WW Associates to design improvements for the town’s water treatment plant.

Wodicka said, “Council decided that they were the firm with the best experience with the type of projects we are completing.”

Although the Virginia Department of Health still has to approve the town’s selection, Wodicka noted that WW Associates will help the town rehabilitate filters, installing ultraviolet disinfection and work on a “complete overhaul of solids management.”

The ultraviolet treatment, Wodicka said, is a response to a contaminant that the Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring.

“The real concern right now … with the EPA is the existence of cryptosporidium, which is a nasty little organism that makes you really sick,” Wodicka said.

The town is not in danger of having this contaminant in its system, Wodicka noted, but is looking to guard against it with the installation of UV treatment.

This treatment will come in between the town’s chlorine treatment points and, Wodicka asid, would reduce the amount of chlorine the town uses in the process.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council unanimously voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance to rezone 1.61 acres owned by the Woodstock United Methodist church from high density residential and light industrial to central business B-1.

Town Planning and Zoning Administrator Gary Lantz said the rezoning will make things easier on the church.

“It just simplifies their zoning and their land,” Lantz added. “It makes it easier to say, ‘We have 1.61 that is now working for central business.’

“Not many people have a church in industrial zoning,” Lantz said, noting that one of the parcels once belonged to a company called Valley Builders, which was a coal, lumber and oil company.

Lantz said, “[The zoning] was always kept the same, nobody ever applied for one zoning.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or

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