FRONT ROYAL – Industries that use a lot of water might not set up shop in the U.S. 340-522 Corridor in Warren County.
Front Royal provides water and sewer service to the corridor north of town through an agreement with the county. The water treatment plant can provide enough water per day to most users, Town Manager Steve Burke told the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority board on Friday. But the town would need to make costly upgrades to the delivery system should a high-volume user seek to locate in the corridor, Burke advised.
Board member Bill Sealock said he had a concern about the town’s ability to produce water.
“Every time we go out to recruit a business we hear that we don’t have enough water,” Sealock said. “Is there a plan to escalate [production]?”
A recent potential development involved a user that required more than 1 million gallons of water per day, Burke said. That amount “is far beyond what is contemplated in the original corridor,” Burke noted. While the town’s water treatment plant can produce the amount, only a 10-inch line serves the corridor, he explained. A 10-inch line was installed to handle the water needs for light industrial and commercial users.
“We have sufficient water supply in the area, even with Dominion [power plant] coming on board, for just that – light industrial and commercial,” Burke said. “A bottling facility like that was simply never contemplated.”
The EDA needs to plan ahead as they field inquiries from potential developers, Sealock said.
“My concern, what I didn’t hear in your statement was, yes, we have a definite plan,” Sealock said. “I mean, we’ve got to anticipate these kinds of things.”
If the EDA seeks to change the direction of industrial development in the corridor to include high-volume users, then town officials and the authority would need to discuss that idea, Burke said.
Douglas Stanley, county administrator for Warren County, pointed out that many of the users in the corridor do not use much water. As for potential new users that would require more water, Stanley explained that the town would need to weigh the benefit of having such an operation against the cost to provide service and look at the return on the investment.
Town officials did advise EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald that Front Royal could provide enough water to a bottling facility but only by making improvements to the existing delivery system.
The town is investigating the possibility of tapping into a spring off Reliance Road as a potential water source. The spring likely produces at most 750,000 gallons of water per day and could serve as a redundant source for the corridor, Burke told the board.
“If someone were to want to come out here and put that same bottling facility in town, again, we would still have to do infrastructure [improvements] because a dedicated line to provide a million gallons a day is pretty large,” Burke said.
The town also has been trying to find a route for a loop that would provide another means to deliver water to the corridor and other areas in the event that service is interrupted. So far none of the routes studied by a consulting firm hired by the town have panned out. The town now is looking at constructing a parallel line along Interstate 66 or developing the spring.
“Every time we look there’s a big stop sign put in the way,” Burke said.
The town’s water towers operate at full pressure, Burke said in response to a board member’s question. While the town has not heard of any water pressure problems in the corridor, Burke reiterated that the demand for volume requires infrastructure upgrades.
Front Royal had to make some improvements to the system to accommodate the Dominion plant.
EDA board Chairwoman Patricia Wines asked Burke how much it would cost to improve the system for the corridor.
The town would need to install a dedicated line, 12-16 feet in diameter, from the treatment plant to the corridor to supply enough water for a bottling plant or similar user, Burke said. Additionally, the town would need to build a pump station in the Guard Hill area to distribute the water to the corridor. Burke estimated a cost of more than $1 million to make the improvements.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org