County borrows $880,000 for plant

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors on Monday agreed to borrow $880,500 to upgrade the Boykins sewer treatment plant after it discharged more ammonia and copper than permitted into the Meherrin River.

The county will pay back $44,000 annually for 20 years on the interest-free loan from Virginia Water Facilities Revolving Fund. Repairs will not result in rate increases for the 550 residential and 66 businesses that use the system. Annual payments will be made from savings in the plant’s budget.

In November 2009, after limits were lowered by the state Department of Environmental Quality, the Boykins plant couldn’t meet its discharge limits for ammonia and copper. Following a series of violations in 2010, the county agreed with the state to identify the cause of the problem.

The county was fined $4,340, which has been paid, and required to bring the plant into compliance by Jan. 1, 2013.

The source of the trouble was linked to an accumulation of degraded sludge that has settled to the bottom of the aeration and digester basins. Officials also learned the plant needed additional repairs due to its age.

No one commented during a Monday hearing about borrowing the money, and supervisors agreed there was no way around not spending it because of the state’s requirements.

“I know the work must be done,” said Franklin District Supervisor Barry Porter. “This is the most responsible financial way. We have to look closer to avoid putting burdens on residents who get no benefit from this. If we don’t do it this way, we’ll have to raise taxes.”