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South Hill moves ahead with sewer work / January 10, 2018
South Hill Town Council is moving forward with sewer upgrades in the northeastern part of town in a bid to unlock the commercial potential of high-traffic areas.

Bill Wilson, Public Works director for the Town of South Hill, laid out the plans during Monday night’s meeting of Town Council.

Wilson identified the three areas of town that will benefit most from these upgrades. The Hillcrest Industrial Park/VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital area will be able to accommodate more development, the area north and east of Exit 15 [on I-85] will be provided with the capacity to handle large amounts of sewer discharge, and the area east of I-85 will have a sewer infrastructure needed for future growth, he said.

Wilson added this project will eliminate the need to upgrade or replace three pump stations and delay the need to expand sewer lines that run through East Atlantic Street.

The preliminary design phase for the northeast sewer project is complete and the final design phase is nearing completion. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the impact of the project on wetlands, and the town’s consulting firm, B&B Consultants, is working with Dominion Energy and VDOT to determine the best way to get power to the new pump station and to bore under I-85 to lay the new sewer line.

When asked by Council member Delores Luster if he expected this project to “be easy,” Wilson replied, “No,” because of the number of easements the town will need.

As designed, the sewer line will cross nine separate properties. Wilson said the property owners have been notified of the project and provided an explanation of its need. He and his staff are in the beginning stages of acquiring the needed easements.

In other business at the Council meeting,

» Town officials have approached the Department of Military Affairs to seek help with clearing and grading of property at the Interstate Industrial Park to prepare it for prospective tenants. Town Manager Kim Callis said for the town to attract businesses to the area, South Hill must first show the site is ready for construction.

» Callis announced that the ordinance granting Columbia Gas of Virginia a 20-year franchise to provide natural gas service in South Hill will expire at the end of January. State law requires local governments to publish advertisements inviting bids for a franchise of this type that extend beyond five years.

He said Columbia Gas has asked that their franchise be renewed, but for a period of 40 years. Callis and legal counsel are recommending against this.

Callis asked for and received authorization from Council to advertise for bids on the franchise to provide natural gas service for 25 years only.

» 32 town employees attended a defensive driving training class in December. Callis said that having the employees participate in the “Where the Rubber Meets the Road” campaign lowers the town’s insurance rates.

» Callis also announced that town staff has begun working on a new budget for fiscal year 2018-19. Preparation materials have been distributed to Mayor Dean Marion and to council members who serve on the Budget and Finance Committee. Callis said he plans to deliver a copy of the proposed budget to Town Council in late April with a public hearing set for May 14.

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