Norfolk approves water agreement

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Norfolk’s City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday evening approving a water sales contract to Suffolk and Isle of Wight County.

Governing bodies from all three localities must ratify the agreement, however. Suffolk and Isle of Wight County are scheduled to vote on the agreement in August.

“This agreement will allow the city of Suffolk and Isle of Wight County to continue to grow and prosper,” said Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim at a July 9 press conference in Norfolk.

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The agreement, which takes effect when official papers are signed in a few weeks, will provide for the Western Tidewater Water Authority, which comprises Isle of Wight and Suffolk, to purchase up to 15 million gallons a day from Norfolk. The water will come from Norfolk’s Western Branch reservoir, which is on Route 10 near Reid’s Ferry in Suffolk.

According to Albert Moor II, Suffolk’s director of public utilities, the water will be pumped from the Western Branch reservoir and piped underground to Suffolk’s G. Robert House water treatment facility in the Chuckatuck area, near Lone Star Lakes. There, it will be treated and pumped out to customers.

The water doesn’t start flowing until 2014, he added. About $100 million worth of capital investment, including a pump station, three miles of underground pipes and treatment plant expansion, will have to be made in the interim.

The contract allows for the water authority to purchase 3 million gallons per day initially, and the amount then will increase by one million gallons per day every other year, reaching a maximum of 15 million gallons per day in 2038 and continuing through 2048. The water purchase rate will be $1.15 per 1,000 gallons initially, and will rise according to the Consumer Price Index.