nautical twilight

Monticello, Monalto, Rivanna
Walking southwest on the Rivanna right bank trail toward Monticello {left} and the Woolen Mills Village National Historic District.
In eight days the regional water and sewer authority board (RWSA) will vote on whether to locate a 53 million gallon per-day sewage pumping station in this park.

The following information is provided for Charlottesville, Virginia (longitude W78.5, latitude N38.0):
20 December 2011 Eastern Standard Time

Begin civil twilight 6:56 a.m.
Sunrise 7:26 a.m.
Sun transit 12:11 p.m.
Sunset 4:57 p.m.
End civil twilight 5:27 p.m.

Meetings (laughing)

Rivanna Pump Station
The existing Rivanna Pump Station is in close proximity to houses in the Woolen Mills.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone. For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own.–E. W. Wilcox

There are different types of laughter: etiquette laughter; nervous laughter; silent laughter; belly laughter; cruel laughter. Are any of these appropriate in a public meeting?
Political bodies have different “laughter cultures”. Locally, I don’t hear the Board of Supervisors or the City Council laughing but the Charlottesville Planning Commission likes to laugh. The local kings of laughter are the members of the Albemarle County Service Authority.

A bit of levity can lift the mood in a long meeting. Everyone loves a laugh. But laughter at the public’s expense, laughter where the citizens are the butt of the joke, this would seem to be inappropriate emanating from public servants. Audio clips are posted below, please listen for yourself and listen for the laughs. Is it proper?

Buy & Relocate
Convenience & View
Trailer-Mounted Pump Station

Sound bites are misleading. Every interview subject fears sound bites, with good reason. Statements are abstracted from context and standing alone, take on an entirely different meaning.
The bites here can be heard in context on Charlotteville Tomorrow’s website.

Mini-Rotunda is about 12:20 in to the 3/17/2011 ACSA meeting.
Buy & Relocate is approximately 52 minutes into the 5/19/2011 meeting
Convenience & View is 16:20 in to the May Meeting
Trailer-Mounted Pump Station is approximately 58 minutes in to the May meeting

Because of the limited utility of sound-bites to convey the essence of a meeting, I heartily endorse our local C-Span, Charlotteville Tomorrow. Charlottesville Tomorrow provides gavel to gavel audio coverage of important local meetings. I urge you to support this critical community service. I encourage you to be involved with local boards, commissions and legislative bodies. Serve on them, attend the meetings. Our collective quality of life rests on the shoulders of an engaged public.
(All audio presented here was recorded by Charlottesville Tomorrow)

53 mgd

Tandem Friends School students test Rivanna River water with technical direction and apparatus provided by Rivanna Conservation Society executive director Robbi Savage.
The students canoed to Riverview Park from an undisclosed location on the north fork of the Rivanna.

April 6, 2011, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will hear from Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority executive director Tom Frederick about locating a new, fifty-three million gallon per day sewage pumping facility in this park.
If you are a county resident, please communicate with your supervisors about this bad idea. Riverview Park and Darden Towe Park are our community’s only gateways to the Rivanna River. Not good locations for sewage infrastructure.
To petition the Board of Supervisors on this issue click here.
Architect’s rendering of the proposal for the park.

Rivanna Pumping Station

At their January 25, 2011 board meeting, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority heard from four members of the public regarding proposed improvements to the Rivanna sewage pump station. RWSA's Tom Frederick provides an introduction to the comments.

Frederick Intro
Ewing comment
Hayes comment
Chester comment
Emory comment
Frederick summary

Photo above illustrates the proximity of the pumping station to residences.

Audio clips above pulled from the complete podcast of this board meeting available at Charlottesville Tomorrow

Information from RWSA regarding pumping station project


Bruce Edmonds made an excellent suggestion during the Rivanna Pumping Station meeting. It would be helpful to see a listing of sewage pumping plants permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers in a floodplain, in a park in a 100% residential area.
If there are a few of these beasts east of the Mississippi, road trip! Go see, touch and smell…
That is my recollection of what he said.
Hoping that Charlottesville Tomorrow will post audio…

Current pumping station capacity, 25 million gallons per day (mgd).
Required Capacity per Comprehensive Sewer Interceptor Study to meet a severe wet weather event (2-Year Recurrence Storm) is 51 mgd. (source, RWSA presentation)
In 2010, peak flows for this station in dry weather were around 8 million gallons per day. When it rains hard, another 43 million gallons of infiltrate and inflow rush into the homeowners’ sewer laterals and RWSA, City and ACSA pipes.
The infrastructure is full of holes…


Tom Frederick of the RWSA and Janice Carroll of Hazen Sawyer confer during slide presentation regarding RWSA’s Rivanna Interceptor Sanitary Sewer Pumping Capacity Improvements.

The Rivanna Pump Station is currently located adjacent to Riverview Park, at the end of Chesapeake Street in the Woolen Mills neighborhood.

Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association president Victoria Dunham summarizes the four pumping station options presented by the RWSA below…

The RWSA has presented four potential options.  The new station will have a bigger footprint, but will also need to be taller because the electrical equipment has to be above the 100-year flood level.

Option A leaves the pumping station in roughly the same vicinity, but enlarges it and moves it closer to Bev and Dimi’s house.  For the many folks in the neighborhood who have fought the good fight for so many years re odor and eyesore, this is a discouraging option.  They say it probably won’t smell this time. but that’s one heck of a gamble for us to take as a neighborhood.  Needless to say, this is the cheapest option.

Option B moves the pumping station down into the park.  That will necessitate a lot of clearing and a road system into the park to service the station.  As the park was always intended to remain as untouched as possible, and this solution would shrink the acreage a bit, this is alarming.

Option C moves the pumping station onto their own property (the main plant), which make a lot of sense.  There’s a significant problem with this however, because the RWSA would have to acquire an easement across four properties along E Market St.  As a neighborhood, we would need to be absolutely certain that those four neighbors were completely fine with that.  (I’m not 100% sure exactly which of the properties would be impacted, but guess it would be from Jon Fink and Roger Voisinet, on down the north side of the street to the old mill property.  The pipe would be placed 30ft deep, which is one heck of a trench to be dug in one’s back yard.

Option D moves the pumping station across the river on the opposite bank, which is owned by State Farm.  From an environmental justice perspective, this is a sound solution.  When one considers the negative quality of life suffered by our neighborhood at the hands of the RWSA over the last 30+ years, this is a mighty tempting option.  Needless to say, it’s also the most expensive.

To see RWSA’s powerpoint and learn more visit…

Past contretemps with byproducts from the RWSA’s service region:
mother of all outhouses