Mr. Jefferson’s River

Rivanna River
In 2005 the RWSA “discovered” that in wet weather events leaky pipes and insufficient “transmission capacity” meant that they were losing around 20-25 million gallons of sewage. Where was this liquor going? Into Mr. Jefferson’s river.
Some leaky pipe fixing was begun, 25% of the leaks are slated to be fixed by 2020.
But, that leaves a whole lot of mixed liquids and suspended solids (yeck) burping into the waters of the State of Virginia.

Tonight, Charlottesville City Council holds a public hearing on the subject of how best to deal with this environmental catastrophe.
From the beginning, RWSA has solicited input from the public, “give us your ideas. Think outside the box”. The public has responded with some good ideas which are generally dismissed.
For instance, the Public said “fix the leaky pipes”. Nope, too expensive, no one in the sewage industry tries to fix all the leaky pipes.

One of the RWSA fix options (they call them concepts) was dismissed by City Council, that concept was to locate a massive sewage pumping plant (53mgd capacity) in Riverview Park, the Community’s primary gateway to the river.
Now RWSA is advocating locating the pumping plant at the foot of Monticello Mountain, 6/10ths of a mile from Mr. Jefferson’s crib, this plan is known as option D.

Locating the pumping plant on the northwest face of Monticello Mountain would require the destruction of the riverine environment visible on the left side of the river above. All those trees have to go.

The public has suggested option E. which avoids destroying environmental resources and threatening the architectural resources of the Woolen Mills Village National Historic District. Option E doesn’t threaten anyone or anything. Option E is a bored pathway, in existing easements, to the Moore’s Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Option E will be expensive. It is cheaper to leave the burden of transmitting the sewage from 43 square miles of County, City and University land squarely on the shoulders of property owners and residents in the Woolen Mills.

What will City Council recommend? What will the RWSA Board vote for?

We long for the day when fact based decision making trumps politics and when our community is reconnected with its River. Voting for option E would bring that day closer.

Critical slopes


Charlottesville Planning Commission and City Council have a joint public hearing tomorrow night regarding updating the Critical Slopes ordinance. A unique opportunity for members of the public (Developers and residents) to weigh in on what our City will look like ten years down the road.
If you are a player of meeting bingo, the sustainability box will be filled in early.

Arbor Day

“A society grows great when old people plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”


Members of the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, the Charlottesville Tree Commission, Charlottesville Parks and Recreation and Mia the Dog planted a quercus bicolor in Tonsler Park this morning celebrating Arbor Day.

Martha Warring, forester with the VDOF addressed the assembly, marking Charlottesville’s 5th year as a “tree-city”, a citation granted by the Arbor Day Foundation.


Trees start small, they get big. This quercus falcata (Southern Red Oak) is located in the City’s Oakwood Cemetery.
If you have a tree you’d like to nominate for the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards “treasured tree” program contact them.

South of the Tracks

left bank of Moore's Creek

Sec. 10-71. Duty to retain or establish stream buffer.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, any land adjacent to the following listed waters, shall provide buffers for the purposes of retarding runoff, preventing erosion, and filtering nonpoint source pollution from runoff:
(1) Rivanna River;
(2) Moore’s Creek;
(3) Meadow Creek.
(b) A required stream buffer shall be no less than one hundred (100) feet wide on each side of the stream, which buffer
shall be measured horizontally from the top of the stream bank.–CHO Minicode

North of the tracks we are spending millions to restore Meadow Creek. South of the tracks, on Moore’s Creek, the poor man’s creek, is there a mitigation plan, any plan? Put in the new sewer pipe, grind up the trees. That is that?

Jack Aubrey would be proud


Dawn on the cul de sac. No traffic. Leaving at 700hrs for Charlottesville.

Tonight the Charlottesville Planning Commission continues their discussion regarding the protection of critical slopes and green infrastructure. The health of the Rivanna River watershed and its inhabitants is affected by this discussion. Consider attending, the discussion will be in a “workshop” format, public input is encouraged.

Fort Macon, Cow Island, Terns?


1/400th of a second and their wings still blur.
Communicate with Virginia and the EPA about the waters of Virginia with this form letter, courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The EPA’s public comment period for the draft Chesapeake Bay TMDL closes in thirteen hours (Midnight, November 8). Virginia’s comment period closes November 11.
The water above, Beaufort Inlet Channel, NC.
Driving later today to Emory’s promotion at Cherry Point MCAS.

State Water Control Law


It seems harsh to say that political leaders don’t give a rip about the quality of our physical environment. But how else can you explain the condition of Virginia’s streams and rivers?
In 1950, the Virginia General Assembly added the Water Control Law to the State Code.

The short title of this chapter is the State Water Control Law. It is the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the purpose of this law to:
(1) protect existing high quality state waters and restore all other state waters to such condition of quality that any such waters will permit all reasonable public uses and will support the propagation and growth of all aquatic life, including game fish, which might reasonably be expected to inhabit them;
(2) safeguard the clean waters of the Commonwealth from pollution;
(3) prevent any increase in pollution;
(4) reduce existing pollution;
(5) promote and encourage the reclamation and reuse of wastewater in a manner protective of the environment and public health; and
(6) promote water resource conservation, management and distribution, and encourage water consumption reduction in order to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the present and future citizens of the Commonwealth.

Communicate with Virginia and the EPA about the waters of Virginia with this form letter, courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The public comment period ends November 8 (EPA) and November 11 (Commonwealth of Virginia).