WORK SESSION AGENDA REQUEST 

Sharon McCamy, Vice-Chair, Lee District                            August 19, 2002

Department, Organization                                                         Board of Supervisors

Or Person Making Request                                                               Meeting Date 

Anthony I. Hooper, Assistant County Administrator

Staff Lead & Department 

TOPIC:                       Botha Affordable Housing 

For a number of years the County, Fauquier Housing Corporation, and Fauquier Habitat for Humanity have been working to develop an affordable housing subdivision at Botha.  Funds have been provided to the County under a Community Development Block grant for construction of the street, water system septic systems and storm water management facilities to support the 17-lot subdivision.  The two non-profit agencies have received grants and gifts and will be responsible for construction of the individual dwelling units and selection of low to moderate income households to reside in the single family homes. 

Most recently, additional efforts have focused on efforts to ensure a safe and adequate supply of water.  The issue of developing an adequate water supply has been a critical portion of the project for a number of years.  Emery and Garrett and ENSAT conducted hydrological studies.  Based on the results of this work and approval of Botha well #5 by the Virginia Health Department, a grant application was submitted and approved to develop a subdivision served by a public water supply.  Working in cooperation with the Water and Sanitation Authority, a resolution was adopted by the Authority in February 1998 to own and operate the system consistent with rules and regulations.  As a part of the plan, the County was to provide a five-year warranty of the water systemís well and well pump. 

In late 2001, as work was proceeding with seeking Health Department approval of the water systems, water tests showed an elevated level of nitrates of 9.31 mg/l.  The State standard is 10 mg/l and previous testing in earlier years had shown nitrate levels in the range of 5 mg/l.  WSA became concerned about this higher test result and sought the review of Emery and Garrett.  Since the County wanted to assure that a safe and reliable source of water was available, other steps were taken.  The water was re-sampled with lower readings in the range of 6.75 mg/l.  At this juncture, it was determined that it would be prudent to explore other water resources on adjacent property to   provide a supplemental or replacement resource.  Emery and Garrett was engaged to identify other possible well sites and, recently, the installation of a test-well on adjoining property failed to produce positive results.  At the same time, the Botha well was retested and samples taken from the existing nearby wells to determine more about the nitrate issue.  All of these most recent tests documented ranges of nitrate readings below 3.0. 

In continuing to work with the WSA on this matter, concern has been expressed regarding the nitrate issue as it relates to the financial viability of the project.  The WSA is concerned that if nitrate levels should increase in the future then it would be necessary to install treatment capacity.  At estimated annual operating expenses of $12,000, this would dramatically increase rates over the small rate base of 17 homes and thereby impact the financial polices of WSA.  The added monthly increase of approximately $59.00 would place water bills near $100.00 a month, making it difficult for the Botha residents. 

Therefore, WSA has proposed that the County maintain ownership of the system during the first five years, or less, once operating experience confirms that it will not be necessary to provide treatment to reduce the nitrate reading. 

The Virginia Health Department is prepared to approve the well.  Ideally, a back-up water resource would be beneficial since it would provide added insurance of an adequate and safe water supply.  The County, in cooperation with WSA, will continue to seek supplemental sources as other opportunities may be developed in the future. 

REQUESTED ACTION: 

Discussion of water supply issue.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACTS ANALYSIS: 

Funds from the Utility Fund have been made available to test, develop and explore other water resources to supplement the existing well. 

IDENTIFY ANY OTHER DEPARTMENTS, ORGANIZATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS THAT WOULD BE AFFECTED BY THIS REQUEST: 

Fauquier Housing Corporation

Fauquier Habitat for Humanity

Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority