22 February 2007

What Price Clean Water?

Today's Daily Progress reports on a wastewater treatment upgrade proposed by RWSA which could end up costing Charlottesville-Albemarle residents another $77 per year. If the State won't foot the bill, that is. Considering that the State has recently decided to downsize its Water Control board, and has consistently cut funds from wastewater treatment for the last couple of years in order to fund other pet projects, I'm not hopeful that RWSA will get all of the funds its seeks from the State.

So that leaves it, once again, to the localities, to pay for what we want through our utilities and property taxes. Tell me--what do my State taxes get me nowadays? (Other than non-responsive government.)

The price tag on the upgrade might cause some residents sticker shock, coming on the heels of the proposed and approved new water supply plan. The Moore's Creek treatment plant which is getting the upgrade serves the urban area.

The public water system includes separate stormwater and wastewater drainage. Stormwater drains directly into the Rivanna and her tributaries; wastewater from sinks, toilets and baths is directed to the treatment plants. The stormwater system hasn't been upgraded since the late 1970s, and the wastewater system was taken over by RWSA in the 1980s. Many of the pipes are older than that. DEQ water quality standards have risen in that time, as has the public demand for cleaner water.

So, before the residents rail against the possible price hikes, it might want to consider just where on its priority list clean water comes, and what price it deems reasonable to pay for it. As densely populated as our area is, $77/year doesn't seem like a high price to pay for this staple of life.


Lonnie said...

Of course, this also points to the enourmous savings we get from leaving streams and wetlands intact. The more work we can let those systems do, the less money we have to spend down the road in wastewater treatment.

It also is another very real figure representing the impacts of development. The more people you add, the more water you've got to treat, and thus the bigger all C-ville resident's bills are...

Of course, I'm in the county on a well, so this doesn't effect me so much except that I appreciate cleaner streams.

TL Patten said...

Bill Emory has a great picture of the effluent currently being dumped into Moore's Creek entitled Wastewater in the March 06 archives of his Black and White blog (date: 03/28/2006). It says more than I could on the subject (over 1,000 words, easily). It's made my finals list of Prints I Am Going to Buy.

Lonnie said...

interesting blog, and yeah that's a fine photo!

Incidently, did you hear of ASAPs Photo contest? I wonder if prints could be diplayed at the next election...