Phenix deliberates water plans

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

To improve its water quality, the Town of Phenix, engineering company W.W. Associates and the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) are exploring options that include one or multiple new wells and installing booster pumps on Halifax Street to address reported water pressure issues.

Todd Fortune

The funds to improve the water quality is being provided by the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water (VDH-ODW).

According to a memorandum by CRC Deputy Director Todd Fortune dated Nov. 8, the Phenix Town Council held a special called meeting Oct. 23 to discuss recommendations presented by W.W. Associates.

A test at well No. 2 earlier this year, located on the western end of the town, was found to have slightly exceeded the regulated rate for natural radiological contamination called Gross Alpha.

Gross alpha, according to W.W. Associates Project Manager Karen Austin, is a broad collection of alpha emitting natural radiological contamination.

This contamination can pose cancer risk if consumed in large quantities over a long period of time, Austin said in a previous interview.

“Someone would have to drink 2 liters of the water every day for 70 years to increase their chance of getting cancer,” Austin said. She noted that the chemical is in a lot of drinking water, but said due to the well in the town being a public drinking water area, the town is taking steps to address it.

Members of the town council, Fortune said in the memorandum, deliberated installing one new well, and using the remainder of the leftover funds to replace water lines.

W.W. Associates received the information discussed by the town during its special called meeting. The company then submitted a revised Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) to the town and VDH-ODW that suggests using the existing Well No. 3 as a short term solution to meet daily demands for water and to address water quality issues; developing two new wells as a long term solution (if this is not feasible, W.W. Associates cited that an alternative would be to install water treatment systems for all three existing wells); and installing booster pumps at residences at Halifax Street facing water pressure issues.

Fortune, in the memorandum, said Harry Hughes with VDH-ODW is reviewing the revised PER made by W.W Associates.

Fortune said once solutions have been identified, the CRC will work with the Town of Phenix, VDH-ODW and W.W. Associates to implement potential revisions on the project.