A meeting was held last night at Eastern Shore Community College on the proposed sewage line, the first phase of which would connect the towns of Exmore, Nassawadox and Accomac to a main sewage line operated by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District. The HRSD currently serves over 500,000 customers throughout Tidewater and including Matthews and Middlesex counties.
Representatives of the HRSD, members of the Accomack and Northampton Boards of Supervisors, Delegate Rob Bloxom and Senator Lynwood Lewis and representatives of many of the incorporated towns attended. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information for each of the governing entities and to get their support.
There are several benefits of signing on with the HRSD. The HRSD was created to allow various municipalities and counties in the same region to consolidate sewage treatment efforts and in doing so better maintain treatment facilities and help prevent failures that often result in raw sewage entering the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
It also opens the way for industry to come to an area without having to install their own sewage treatment plants providing more jobs and boosting local economies.
It distributes the costs of sewage treatment to all the customers in the Eastern Virginia area. The main benefit is to take towns and counties out of the sewage disposal business and allow people who have the expertise and resources to build and maintain the pipeline and treatment plants.
It would give other areas of the county access to the Onancock Sewage Treatment facility which is currently operating at 30% capacity.
There are three phases proposed. The first would expand the county sewage line to Nassawadox and Exmore to the South, and the town of Accomac to the north. The second phase would provide access for northern Accomack County including the town of Chincoteague. The third phase would tie together Cheriton and Eastville to the Cape Charles treatment plant.
In order to move forward, each incorporated town and both counties will have to petition the Circuit Court to join the HRSD. Even if a town is not in the first three phases opting into the plan will include that incorporated town in the process.
Opting in will not commit any incorporated town to hook into the system or will it cost the towns or their citizens in any way. But opting in will provide access to the system should the need arise in the future. Should a town not opt in now but wish to do so later it would have to petition the court on its own and pay for everything required on its own.
It was decided that both the Accomack County and Northampton Counties will draft resolutions to provide to the towns to approve and thus opt in. Towns should do so by December 31, 2019 to allow Delegate Bloxom and Senator Lewis or whomever is elected to submit the request for state help by the deadline which is January 16.
If anyone has a question or who wants clarification on the matter you can contact Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason or Northampton County Administrator Charles Kolokowski’s offices.