Pictured: A section of the railroad in Greenbush. The current proposed project would run a pipeline from Accomac south to Nassawadox along the railroad and would allow towns to hook up to the line and send waste water to the Onancock Plant for treatment.
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution authorizing the inclusion of Accomack County in a petition to the Circuit Court seeking the County be added to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District. Northampton adopted a similar resolution at their meeting earlier this month.
The resolution will pave the way for the county to turn over the management of its sewage disposal to the HRSD. The plan includes three phases. The first phase will run a line from Onancock to Accomac and south to Nassawaddox. The HRSD will pick up the cost of installing and maintaining the line which will run along the railroad right of way.
A proposed second phase would run the line north to serve Chincoteague and a proposed third phase would extend the line south from Nassawadox.
Towns along the line will have the option of installing their own sewage collection systems and hooking up to the HRSD.
The Hampton Roads Sanitation District serves the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Newport News and Hampton. It also serves Matthews and Middlesex counties on the peninsula and middle peninsula.
The HRSD has approximately 500,000 customers. It distributes it’s rates among all customers. Customers who hook up to the system can expect to pay approximately $15 per thousand gallons. That rate is considerably less than the rate charged on the line to customers between Onancock and the Industrial Park.
Several incorporated towns along the line have been asked to join the county in petitioning the court to join. County officials stress that opting in to the petition will not require any town to actually hook up to the system. Opting in will only make the option available to a town if the line becomes accessible. For many towns this will make the option available to a future town council.
The HRSD has also agreed to assume the operation and maintenance of the Onancock Sewage Facility which has plenty of excess capacity. Government funding is currently being pursued to pay off the $4 million debt still owed by the Town of Onancock on the plant.
The HRSD will maintain both the sewage treatment facility and the collection systems that hook up to the main line.
Officials in both counties hope that installing the line will open the area to businesses which have thus far stayed away from the Eastern Shore due to the high cost of installing private sewage treatment facilities. They also would like to make it easier to build affordable housing along the line.