Frederick addressing its water needs

Posted: August 15, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Frederick County Sanitation Authority and Board of Supervisors will look for ways to increase the availability of water in the locality due to the potential of limited supplies in the future.

The authority (FCSA) currently has an excess water capacity of about 1 million gallons per day, according to Engineer-Director Uwe Weindel. That excess capacity — which accounts for projected water use of approved but not-fully-built developments like Snowden Bridge — is enough to serve about 7,500 new homes or several water-intensive businesses, according to Weindel.

The information was presented as part of a joint work session between the Board of Supervisors and FCSA in the locality’s Administration Building Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the additional capacity, questions remain as to whether Frederick County will have enough water going forward.

“I think one of the things that we have to grapple with down the road is capacity [issues], especially water capacity,” Weindel said during the session.

“Unfortunately we don’t have a river, we don’t have multiple sites that have multiple millions of gallons of water available.”

One way the FCSA is looking to address future water issues is by having its hydrogeologist examine aerial photographs and geologic data for the county to determine where potentially significant groundwater sites might be.

“What we did then was prioritize three or four locations that looked very promising,” Weindel said.

The FCSA must still evaluate potential sites for the viability of tapping into the water supply. Criteria it will use include what it would take to transport the water to a treatment facility and how much water would be available.

An option that board directed County Administrator John R. Riley Jr. to pursue during the work session is to contact Warren County about the possibility of creating a regional water-drawing facility along either the Shenandoah River or one of the river’s forks.

The FCSA is a state corporation that provides water and sewer service to about 12,500 customers in the county.

Attending the meeting in the Frederick County Administration Building were board Chairman Richard C. Shickle, Vice-Chairman Charles S. Dehaven Jr. and members Gary A. Lofton, Christopher E. Collins, Robert A. Hess and Robert Wells. Supervisor Gene E. Fisher was absent.

Sanitation Authority members in attendance were Chairman Robert P. Mowery, Vice-Chairman John Stevens and members Stanley J. Crockett and Walter C. Cunningham. Member Richard A. Ruckman was absent.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com