The team behind a project that would put a water intake and pumping station on land that is home to Rassawek, the historic capital of the Monacan Indian Nation, will ask Wednesday that the permitting process for the infrastructure be put on hold.
On Wednesday, the group working on the project will recommend that the James River Water Authority board that it ask that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporarily suspend processing of the pending application to give further consideration to possible alternative project configurations and locations.
Justin Curtis, an attorney for JRWA, said the project team is still looking at alternative options for the Fluvanna County site.
“We are looking at these other alternative options out there, and we’re just not ready,” he said Monday. “We haven’t run them fully into the ground and we just want to take time to make sure that we’ve fully evaluated everything.”
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The JRWA authority board will have the final say about whether to ask for the suspension, and will take action at its meeting Wednesday.
“Ultimately, the board could agree, may not agree or they may want to communicate it differently,” Curtis said. “...That’ll be the time when the board will hear about this and receive that information and make a decision.”
The current proposed and recommended site is near Point of Fork at the confluence of the Rivanna and James Rivers, which played a role in the Revolutionary War, as well as being home to the capital of the Monacan nation.
The tribe, and its attorneys have fought the use of the site, citing its history and the potential for burial sites to be disturbed.
On Monday, Marion Werkheiser, an attorney for the tribe, said the action is a good sign that JRWA is seriously exploring alternatives.
“The Monacans are willing to work with JRWA to make sure that any alternatives they are considering will not disturb Monacan ancestors,” she said.
The portion of the project currently proposed for Rassawek is part of a larger effort through the water authority to bring water to a treatment facility in Louisa County that ultimately would serve Zion Crossroads.
A water treatment plant in Louisa has already been built, as has a raw waterline from the plant to Route 6 in Fluvanna, where a “T” connection exists for Fluvanna to connect an additional raw water line later. All of the alternative projects would connect a waterline from the pump station to the existing “T” connection.
Attorneys for the Monacans have asked the authority to consider a potential site alternative for the project that was called Forsyth. That alternative is about 2.3 miles upstream of the confluence of the rivers. Curtis said that the Forsyth alternative, as well as another that will keep the pump station in its current proposed location but changes the waterline, are two of the sites the project team are looking at again.
“Then there are a couple other options that we’re looking at that we’re just not ready to discuss publicly yet, but we’ve got a couple others that we’re looking at and trying to figure out if they’re viable options,” Curtis said.
The meeting will be held at 9 a.m.Wednesday at the Fluvanna County Public Library at 214 Commons Boulevard, in Palmyra.
In-person access to the meeting is limited to the first 40 people who sign up in advance to attend. Those wishing to attend must call or email Fluvanna Clerk to the Board Caitlin Solis at (434) 591-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, address and phone number no later than one hour prior to the meeting. Facemasks are required.