Regional Sewer Project Deserves More Discussion

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Dear Editor:

Those of us concerned about a proposal to bring the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) services to the ESVA seek a handful of actions before the starting bell rings, an event that might happen this week if the circuit courts in both counties decide to
add our peninsula to the district.

First, we hold that the general public must be more fully informed and involved before this process moves forward. HRSD was birthed only after every resident in the Hampton Roads area was offered a chance to approve or deny the formation of the district, once voting to reject it before narrowly passing. We say that after a much-needed, large public outreach information campaign is mounted, we are owed the opportunity to vote as to whether we want our localities to move forward.

Second, we think that the economic impacts of joining HRSD are not fully understood. There is one town on the ESVA that knows the truth about this issue, and that is Exmore. After years of study and thousands of dollars spent on a professional engineering report,
Exmore decided that HRSD was too expensive to serve the needs of its people and businesses. The leaders concluded that the monthly rate for sewer service under HRSD, on the first year and before their annual 7-9% rate increases, would top $82/month for all 825 residents who would be forced to hook up in order to satisfy the debt we would incur.

Finally, a complete environmental impact study should be undertaken to assess the impacts to our sole source aquifer from pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of our limited
drinking water supplies into the Onancock Creek daily, much of which now stays in the local water cycle in mass drainfields, rapid infiltration basins, or private septic systems. This  study can be ordered by the court.

The HRSD enabling act demands that any area proposed to be added to the district (that) will not be benefited by the district SHALL not be included in the district — a decision that is made by the courts. To make that determination, we hold that the three forms of relief we are seeking as stated above must be performed.

Ken Dufty,
Exmore

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