Public Meeting on Raspberry Falls, Selma Estates Water Solution Studies on 12/7/2011 and 12/8/2011 at Tuscarora High School, 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

Explanation of water source alternatives and opportunity for public input.

Read more for a lengthy letter and attachment from Loudoun Water.

November 15, 2011

Attachment: Raspberry Falls Study Brochure.pdf

Dear Resident:

On November 23, 2010, Loudoun Water was officially informed by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) that the untreated water entering Well PW-1 was Groundwater Under the Direct Influence of Surface Water or GUDI.  As part of their GUDI determination, VDH recommended Loudoun Water consider several actions to address the situation, including the installation of filtration and disinfection treatment for the well and a connection to another waterworks such as the Town of Leesburg.

In response to the determination, Loudoun Water’s Board of Directors directed staff in a December 2010 resolution to consider installation of filtration and disinfection treatment at Raspberry Falls as an option and to evaluate the practicable options which were consistent with the Loudoun County Revised General Plan.  Following the resolution, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors requested that Loudoun Water also study a pipeline extension of Town of Leesburg water to Raspberry Falls.  Loudoun Water’s board agreed to do so back in January.

For eight months, Loudoun Water worked with Hazen & Sawyer, a leading environmental engineering firm, and the Town of Leesburg to produce studies that would objectively evaluate and determine the options that will address the situation and be able to be constructed.

After careful review of the studies, Loudoun Water found sufficient information to conclude that both the treatment and pipeline options are technically viable (able to be constructed) and identified preferences for a treatment option and a pipeline alignment.  Other issues, including operational considerations, costs and implementation timeframes were outlined and found to be factors that could significantly influence a final decision.

Attached you will find a publication we have produced to help explain the studies’ findings. (It is also available online at loudounwater.org.)  It provides some background on the situation in Raspberry Falls, describes how the study work was conducted, and details the essential findings in what we hope is a format that is easy-to-understand.  If you wish to read the complete studies, you can turn to our website at loudounwater.org and click on the Raspberry Falls or Selma Estates webpage found under Community Systems.

Loudoun Water is guided by our mission to ensure sustainable water services to protect health, the environment and quality of life.  Providing a reliable and safe water supply drives our decision-making process.  The Well PW-1 GUDI determination highlighted the nature of wells in limestone geology; that some – but not all – wells in the karst can become under the direct influence of surface water over time and require a different level of treatment.

Therefore, after taking all of the facts into consideration, Loudoun Water’s Board of Directors passed a resolution on November 10, 2011, stating its determination that either the preferred treatment option or the preferred pipeline alignment will be selected as the appropriate long-term solution to the situation at Raspberry Falls.

The resolution states, “Because the extension of municipal water into the Rural Policy Area is not permitted by Loudoun County, Loudoun Water will proceed with the installation of membrane filtration for all Raspberry Falls water supply wells and will not proceed with further development of the pipeline extension of Leesburg Town Water unless:

  1. Loudoun County amends the Revised General Plan to authorize the pipeline extension and approves a Commission Permit for the pipeline extension; and
  2. the Town of Leesburg approves an agreement to accept ownership and operation of the Raspberry Falls Community Water System.

Loudoun Water requests that Loudoun County and the Town of Leesburg decide whether to pursue the pipeline extension no later than May 2012 otherwise Loudoun Water will proceed with installation of membrane filtration at Raspberry Falls.

Pursuant to Loudoun Water policies, the cost of improvements to the Raspberry Falls Community Water System will be recovered from Raspberry Falls Customers.  Loudoun Water will support the Board of Supervisor’s consideration of establishing a sanitary district.”

(NOTE: The full resolution can be found on the homepage of Loudoun Water’s website, loudounwater.org.)

Loudoun Water will consider the need for membrane filtration for Selma Estates water supply wells following completion and evaluation of the remaining Selma Estates wells.

Loudoun Water has the ability to move forward immediately with work on the treatment option without the need for legislative action.  The pipeline option does require legislative action by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Town of Leesburg before work can commence, so we stand ready to work collaboratively with all of the affected parties if the pipeline option is considered by the County and the Town of Leesburg.

We will be prepared to cooperate with all of the affected parties to select the appropriate option and to consider financing vehicles consistent with past actions taken by both the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Town of Leesburg to pay for the solution.

It is important to note that the treated water to the Raspberry Falls community has always met EPA and VDH standards.  During the timeframes required to determine and implement the appropriate long-term solution, Loudoun Water will continue to fulfill its mission.

When the studies were released to the public on August 22, 2011, Loudoun Water opened a public review and comment period to give interested parties time to ask questions about the studies and give their opinions on its findings.  To date, we have received nearly 100 questions from the community.

During our presentation of the studies to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, a request was made for Loudoun Water to add a public meeting to the review and comment process at or near Raspberry Falls to help explain the studies and give the community an additional opportunity to provide input.  Loudoun Water is fulfilling this request by holding two public meetings that will provide some flexibility and allow more residents to attend.  The content presented at both sessions will be the same.

The public meetings will be held Wednesday, December 7, 2011, and Thursday, December 8, 2011, in the cafeteria of Tuscarora High School, 801 N. King Street, in Leesburg. The sessions will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

I invite you to join us for one of the sessions to hear our presentation and give your input. Representatives from Loudoun Water, Hazen and Sawyer, and other key stakeholders will be on hand to give a presentation about the studies’ findings.  Answers to the questions we have received from the community as part of the review and comment process will be given at the sessions.  We will also take additional questions that will either be responded to at the meeting or within a two-week timeframe.  The public review and comment period will then close on December 31, 2011.

We hope you find the enclosed material helpful to you in forming your opinion and we hope you will share thoughts on the long-term solutions proposed for Raspberry Falls on either December 7th or 8th.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Dale Hammes, P.E.

General Manager

Loudoun Water