Suffolk purchasing more wells

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Suffolk lawmakers are poised to buy two community water systems, the latest in a string of such purchases made over the past year.

During its meeting Wednesday, the Suffolk City Council is expected to approve the purchase of Berwyn Way Community Well System and the Independent Water Co.’s water supply systems.

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Under the proposed agreements, the city will pay $20,000 for the Berwyn Way system, which has 13 customers, and $25,000 for the Independent Water Co. That company serves about 50 residents in the Crittenden/Eclipse communities.

&uot;We expect to take over the operations of both systems in February,&uot; said Al Moor, the city’s director of public utilities.

The city has purchased 16 of the city’s 35 community water systems in the past year, most of which have been cited for excessive fluoride levels by the Virginia Department of Health. Private well owners have frequently opted to sell rather than make the costly investment needed to bring the fluoride levels within state compliance.

The most recent acquisitions were the December 2004 purchases of the Eclipse Water Association and the Oakland Water Co., which together have approximately 130 customers.

&uot;Connecting to the city system is the best solution to address these issues,&uot; Moor said. &uot;Customers (on city water) will receive a higher quality of water and the reliability of a systems that has backup mechanisms in place.&uot;

Unlike in most neighborhoods switching over to city water, Berwyn Way residents will not have to pay the hook up and connection fees.

As part of the sales contract, Alpha Water Corp., the current owners of the subdivision’s water system, will pay a total of $15,470 to cover connection fees for its users.

&uot;That was an offer the owner made,&uot; Moor said.

Buying Independent’s well system will allow the city to proceed with ongoing efforts to extend water and sewer into Crittenden and Eclipse, Moor said. The preliminary design of the extension has been under way since 2002, when residents overwhelmingly supported a proposal to extend city utilities to the hamlet.

&uot;Construction will be fairly rapid, once we get started,&uot; Moor said. Once residents have been switched over to city water, work will begin on the pump stations needed for sewer connections.