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GUEST EDITORIAL: RSA corrects statements from BOS

GUEST EDITORIAL: RSA corrects statements from BOS

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Rapidan Service Authority feels compelled to address comments made at the Aug. 24, 2021, Greene County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting. Public safety is of utmost concern to Rapidan Service Authority. We pride ourselves on our water quality meeting and/or exceeding state and federal guidelines. We also take seriously the safety of our firefighters and citizens.

At the Aug. 24, 2021, Greene County BOS meeting there were comments made suggesting the condition of the fire hydrants in Greene County created a public safety issue. Rapidan Service Authority takes issue with these comments. No one on the Greene County Board of Supervisors has ever reported an inoperable fire hydrant to Rapidan Service Authority. For 30 years or more Rapidan Service Authority’s staff engineer has run fire calls in Greene, Orange and Madison counties. Rapidan’s staff engineer has done this as the liaison between Rapidan Service Authority and the fire departments. The goal of this relationship has been to assist the fire departments in locating and making sure the fire hydrants are working properly and account for water used. We have received very positive comments regarding this liaison. If there are problems experienced by the fire department with a fire hydrant, the staff engineer forwards that information to the field maintenance manager for corrective action.

As for any “belief’ that more than 1/3 of Greene County’s water hydrants are inoperable, that condition has certainly never been reported to RSA. The staff engineer, in addition to working calls with the fire department, checks hydrants in all three counties on an ongoing basis. To confirm our hydrants are operating properly and there are no unknown conditions, RSA has decided to check all of RSA’s hydrants in Greene County. This project was scheduled to begin the week of Aug. 30, 2021.

As for the location of the hydrants, Greene County’s online GIS program shows the location of fire hydrants in Greene County. This GIS map includes a number of privately owned hydrants. These hydrants are not maintained or inspected by Rapidan Service Authority but rather by individual property owners. To the extent there is any issue with the firefighters not knowing the location of the fire hydrants and the GIS information being incorrect, RSA has asked its liaison to address that issue. RSA created this liaison position with the utmost safety of the firefighters and citizens in mind.

As for any “belief” that sewage is chronically flowing into Mitchell Creek, RSA has seen no evidence of this being the case. Many years ago, the sewer line running above Mitchell Creek was replaced. The abandoned sewer line in that location was double plugged at the top and the bottom a number of years ago. In fact, the bottom was closed with a plug, concrete, foam, and another layer of concrete. Mysteriously, within the last three weeks, the bottom plug material was removed completely and a leak was then reported to RSA. Upon being made aware of a potential leak, RSA contacted DEQ and re-plugged the line. As for any “belief” that there is a joint leak, Rapidan Service Authority had a televised inspection performed of the replacement line and found no visual breaks or cracks in the line indicating exfiltration.

With respect to ongoing projects in Stanardsville or the needed repairs in this community, it is important for Greene County customers to know that in August 2020, RSA’s general manager requested approval from its board for a $12 million loan to perform repairs and upgrades to the water and sewer systems in Stanardsville. Greene County’s appointed representatives, Bill Martin and Ron Williams, opposed moving forward with any loan related to Stanardsville projects and as such, the request was tabled. Because of this inaction by Bill Martin and Ron Williams there are no plans approved for water or sewer improvements in the Town of Stanardsville. Greene County has recently put a price tag of $17 million dollars on those same repairs.

Hopefully, this correspondence sheds insight into the goals of Rapidan Service Authority in serving its Greene County customers, maintaining its facilities and providing liaisons for its emergency fire crews. Further, hopefully this clears up many of the inaccurate statements made at your recent BOS meeting.

—Timothy Clemons is the general manager of the Rapidan Service Authority.

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