Town hears options for water to corridor

FRONT ROYAL – The town might need to spend millions of dollars to make sure water flows to the U.S. 340-522 corridor if the system fails.

A consultant presented a water system reliability evaluation to Town Council at a work session Tuesday. Front Royal officials continue to seek a way to ensure the town can maintain water service to the growing commercial corridor in the event of a line break or other incident.

CHA representative Eric Anderson explained the four options from the study, the benefits and drawbacks and the estimated costs. A parallel waterline, at a cost of about $5.5 million, would serve as a redundant source and would provide increased water pressure at Riverview Estates and capacity for fire suppression. However, the option requires installation under both forks of the Shenandoah River and Interstate 66.

The most expensive option – a cross-county route – would cost more than $8 million and already has been eliminated as too costly.

A third option combines a 1-million-gallon storage tank and pump station at a cost of about $2.2 million. The option would add storage for a break lasting six hours to a little more than two days. However, this option would require town employees to work around the clock to keep users in service. Employees also would need to operate and maintain the additional pump station.

The fourth option that drew vocal support from at least a couple of council members suggests using the storage tank, pump station and an additional waterline – at an estimated cost of $3.8 million. This option would provide the same benefits as offered by the third suggestion but also reduces the likelihood of service disruption to major users. Employees would need to work around the clock in the event of a line break.

Mayor Timothy Darr said council would continue its discussion about the study at a future work session.

Councilman Bret Hrbek asked at the end of the presentation what the study attempts to solve. Hrbek pointed out that the options don’t appear to provide Front Royal with an alternate route for water delivery from the source inside town heading north across the river to the corridor.

Pennoni Associates Inc. presented the results of a water-loop study to council in spring 2014. The engineering firm found at the time potential routes for the water loop – Mary’s Shady Lane and Benny’s Beach Road as well as Morgan Ford Road. The town eventually discounted the latter option as too expensive given the route would go through private land and conservation easements as well as across the Shenandoah River.

Pennoni project manager Michael Newlin told council at the time that the entire corridor relies on a booster pump station in the Guard Hill Road area. Users then demanded approximately 500,000 gallons of water per day. A water tank at the northern end of the corridor holds 1 million gallons. The amount used per day did not include how much the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail or the Dominion power plant would require.

Town Manager Steve Burke has said that Front Royal’s water fund would cover the cost to build any projects related to the studies. The town entered into its contract with CHA to study the corridor water options in February for $18,400. The town entered into a contract with Pennoni in January 2013 for $36,500.

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