Installation of covers over key wastewater treatment systems, including the primary clarifier basins
Construction of a technologically advanced biological scrubber which will vacuum air space above those systems to remove odor compounds
Installation of a sewage containment pipe and state-of-the-art grit removal facilities to eliminate daily use of outdoor basins
Elimination of post-digestion solids settling basins
Elimination of outdoor biosolids storage and handling area
Purchase of custom-covered trailers for biosolids transport
RWSA set up a tent in Riverview Park and held a kick-off event to announce and celebrate upcoming changes at the Moores Creek Plant:
Assembled neighbors heard from Mike Gaffney (RWSA Board Chair), Kathy Galvin (City Councilor and RWSA Board member) John Frazee (WMNA Board Chair) and others.
Woolen Mills used to be called “the Place”. It’s unique, it is special. We’re standing less than a mile from the foot of Monticello Mountain, a world heritage site. We’re at a lovely bend in the Rivanna River, in a park that is enjoyed by so many people on nice days that cars spill out of the parking lot and into the neighborhood – so I encourage you all to come by bicycle when you visit. Some Woolen Mills residents live in the city, some in the county. We have historic buildings cheek by jowl with the most incredibly modern houses you can imagine. Long ago we were an independent Mill Village; so we’re proud of our past, and we’re fiercely protective of our future.
It’s been a long road to this kickoff, and though I’m fortunate to be the chair of the Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association for this event, I’d like to recognize, in broad terms, the immense amount of work that was done to get us here.
First, I’d like to recognize previous Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association boards, my fellow Woolies, as well as folks in the Belmont / Carlton neighborhood and the other neighborhood associations who pushed and pushed, making phone calls, attending council and board meetings, providing ideas and analysis, and generally not taking “no” for an answer. I was going to say, “the stinky wheel gets the grease”, and now I’ve just said it.
I’d next like to express appreciation to the RWSA Board, the city councilors and county supervisors, for their ability to recognize that the investment in this solution will pay dividends for residents and visitors to this beautiful part of the city (and county!). Thank you.
Thank you for inviting me to speak at this important step in the process. The Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association looks forward to a continuing, healthy dialogue with the RWSA, as we look forward to the successful completion of this project.–John Frazee
“No group of people should bear a disproportionate share of negative consequences resulting from municipal operations.” That was what long time Woolen Mills resident, Bill Emory said at a RWSA meeting in 2008. At that time a two-phased, $2 million odor control plan was proposed that would move and enclose a septage receiving tank, modify the ongoing Nutrient Removal Improvement project, clean the holding ponds and equalization basins and analyze the impacts of all of the above. Those first steps were in the right direction but woefully inadequate for the people of Woolen Mills, Belmont-Carlton and Pantops who did indeed bear an inordinate burden.
When I got on the RWSA board in 2012, phase I of the odor control plan was near completion. Phase II was initially thought to cost an additional $30 million +. Given the understandable concerns about that initial estimate, I worked to secure a letter from then Mayor Huja on behalf of Council to underline the importance of odor mitigation to the City and its neighborhoods, especially the Woolen Mills, and Belmont-Carlton. The Council echoed Mr. Emory’s declaration when it stated in an October 2013 letter, “that no subset of our community (be it county or city) should have to endure a diminished quality of life caused by stifling odors emanating from a treatment facility that serves the entire City and much of Albemarle County’s designated growth area.”
Thanks to the skill, know-how and diligence of our former executive director, Tom Frederick who worked patiently over the years to investigate the odor issue with sound scientific and engineering methods, an ingenious solution was found, that kept the odors at the fence line and the costs down to a third of the original estimate. That reduction made it easier for the full RWSA Board to authorize the executive director to proceed with Phase II of the Odor Control Project.
In December 2014, Hazen and Sawyer (H&S) presented their proposed improvements. The technical challenge addressed by H&S was best expressed by Mr. Frederick in a 12/16/14 memo, “Converting municipal wastewater into clean, healthy water for the environment, together with returning nutrients back to the soil, as nature intended, requires complex bacteriological processes from which odor is an inherent byproduct, meaning odor cannot be eliminated and must be controlled through expensive chemicals, tank covers, and scrubbing facilities. All communities that have actively solved odor control have spent significant capital funds, similar in proportion to what we expect to need to spend to achieve similar results.” By January 2015 the RWSA Board agreed to spend those funds and approved Phase 2 for $9,330,000 as part of the Capital Improvement Program. By April, 2016 the Board unanimously awarded the contract to MEB General Contractors, Inc. out of Chesapeake, VA. Those many decisions over the past eight years are why we are here today.
This [odor control] project is a marvel of science and engineering that reflects our community’s values. It shows our commitment to environmental stewardship, and ensuring a high quality of life for all of our residents. It demonstrates city and county collaboration and highlights the dedication of many civic-minded people who have labored over this issue for close to a decade. I am proud to have played a small part in this effort and grateful for the work of so many people, from the RWSA board (name), the City Council and Board of Supervisors (name), RWSA staff including but not limited to Tom Frederick, acting director Lonnie wood, and chief engineer Jennifer Whitaker; our consultants Hazen & Sawyer; and above all, the citizens of Charlottesville and Albemarle. That’s why, when we stand on this spot 18 months from today, all we’ll be able to smell is fresh cut grass.–Councilor Kathy Galvin
Graphic by the RWSA