CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — After years of negotiations, the City of Chesapeake is poised to purchase an archaic water system that has long concerned residents and city leaders.
On Tuesday night, the Chesapeake City Council will vote on whether or not to spend $1.9 million to purchase the Indian River Water System. This comes after years of negotiating with current system owners, Aqua Virginia, Inc.
Since the mid-1950s, water services have been provided to homes and businesses in the Indian River area on Indian River Road by a private company.
Aqua Virginia currently owns and operates five groundwater wells, a 90,000 gallon tank and a water treatment and distribution system that serves water to nearly 500 customers.
In the past residents have told 10 On Your Side they don’t trust what comes out of their tap, complaining of off colors and smells. Aqua Virginia maintained the water met EPA standards and health requirements, saying what some customers have seen comes from from naturally occurring iron and manganese.
However, the larger issue in the City of Chesapeake’s eyes is the lack of fire hydrants.
“There is no fire protection in the area,” said David Jurgens, Director of Public Utilities for the City of Chesapeake. “The system is so small, they just can’t produce the volume and the pressure to fight a fire.”
The issue also applies to the operation of sprinkler systems and has prevented the struggling Indian River Shopping Center from attracting large new tenants, according to Jurgens.
“This change can have a huge impact,” Jurgens said.
Under the agreement the current pump stations and wells will be abandoned and new pipes will be laid to increase the pressure. All water would come from the same city system.
“So totally different source of supply. Totally different treatment processes when the water gets to [residents],” Jurgens said.
The deal also includes the installation of fire hydrants, and other long-term improvements.
If approved by council, the deal must also be approved by the State Corporation Commission.