By Carol Vaughn
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 18 meeting unanimously approved petitioning the 2nd Circuit Court to become part of the Hampton Roads Sanitation District.
Accomack County Administrator Michael Mason called the petition “the next step” in advancing a regional sewer project on the Eastern Shore, in a process that has been going on for around two years.
Both Shore counties as well as incorporated towns are being asked to petition the court to become part of the district.
So far, “No towns to date have declared intention not to be included,” Mason told the board of supervisors.
Shore officials are working with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District on the regional wastewater project, which would leverage excess capacity at Onancock’s treatment facility.
The Onancock facility currently treats about 230,000 gallons a day, but has a capacity of 750,000 gallons a day.
Supervisor Robert Crockett made the motion to approve the petition, saying, “This is one of the best, one of the largest possible, infrastructure projects” in the region.
He noted the plan to run a sewer line from Nassawadox to Accomac is the first of several planned phases to provide sewer service on the Eastern Shore.
The initial phase, if approved, will run sewage transmission lines from Nassawadox to Accomac, at a cost of $24 to $25 million, Crockett said at a September meeting.
Future phases could extend sewer service south to Cape Charles and north to Chincoteague, he said.
Supervisor Ron Wolff seconded the motion, which was approved 9-0. If the two counties and towns on the Eastern Shore agree to become part of the sanitation district, the HRSD could take on the $24 million sewer line construction project and also operate the system. The Hampton Roads Sanitation District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, similar to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and is governed by an eight-member commission appointed by the governor.
The district has around 1.7 million customers, or about 20% of Virginians, Ted Henifin, general manager of the HRSD, said at a meeting last summer.