Edinburg prepares to divert wastewater

The Town of Edinburg is entering into formal negotiations to divert operations at its wastewater treatment plant to the county’s facility in Woodstock.

Mayor Daniel Harshman explained that Edinburg’s plant, which was put online in 1987, recently began having issues meeting the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality regulations regarding E. coli levels.

He said the town met those regulations by adding more chlorine to the water, but that solution is just a short-term “Band-Aid.” Harshman said the town has two options for long-term solutions: either upgrade its plant or divert the operations to Shenandoah County’s North Fork Wastewater Plant. Both options would cost about $4 million.

If the town upgraded its plant, Harshman said, current regulations would be met, but there is a chance that another upgrade would be necessary in five years.

“It has become clear that it made sense to divert the line to the county,” he said.

That diversion would be accomplished by installing a large pump at the Edinburg plant, which will push water through a pressurized line along  U.S. 11 to the Shenandoah County plant. Harshman said the deal with Shenandoah County would be similar to ones Timberville and New Market have with Broadway. For use of the county’s facility, he said, Edinburg would be charged per gallon of water. He added that the price is unknown and will be the focus of  negotiations with the county.

Although there have been informal talks between the town and county, Harshman said the upcoming negotiations are the first step in formalizing the process. Once that formalization is accomplished, he said the town can map out financing options.

He said financing would likely come from the Rural Development program in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture loans out federal money. That money, he said, will hopefully come in the form of grants and low-interest rate loans that will be paid off over 40 years.

“This is federal money; there are a whole bunch of hoops to jump through,” Harshman said.