Supervisors Overrule PSA, Spend $10,000 for New Study

Cape Charles Wave

December 1, 2014

Northampton County Supervisors have approved spending up to $10,000 for a study on whether commercial sewage should be piped to the Cape Charles treatment plant or, instead, to a much closer, smaller facility owned by the county at Bayview. The action came November 24, less than a week after the county’s Public Service Authority had voted to go with the Cape Charles treatment plant. Only Supervisor Granville Hogg voted against spending the money.

The new engineering study would be performed by the firm of Hurt and Proffitt, already the beneficiary of a $70,000 contract to study constructing a pipeline from Route 13 to the Cape Charles wastewater plant. That contract was executed by the PSA in 2013 with county tax money (although then-Board of Supervisors chairman Willie Randall said he thought they were spending grant money).

At last Monday’s meeting, Supervisor Granville Hogg raised concerns that Hurt and Proffitt might have a conflict of interest. He noted that the PSA had just authorized execution of a contract with Hurt and Proffitt for a wastewater collection and conveyance system from the Route 13 commercial properties to the Cape Charles wastewater plant, pending approval and funding by the Board of Supervisors.


Hurt and Proffitt wrote in a Preliminary Engineering Report for the Southern Node Project, “The Bayview Community in Cheriton has a decentralized wastewater system that was constructed in 2004. . . . This facility provides service to approximately 120 homes and has a capacity of 31,500 gallons per day. This facility is a stand-alone system and will not be a part of this project but will remain in operation.”

County resident David Boyd earlier this year asked the PSA whether the Hurt and Proffitt engineering study would also evaluate an “alternate route” to the much closer Bayview treatment facility, and if not, why not? The answer from the PSA was no: “While it certainly would be less expensive to install a force main to the Bayview facility, extensive upgrades would be required to treat the wastewater from the proposed new service area. Both Bayview and Cape Charles facilities have underutilized capacity,” responded then-PSA chairman Bob Panek.

Supervisor Hogg has pointed out that while the original plan for the commercial service area was for 73 connections,  the latest number is down to 27 active customers. Of those, only five have stated that they definitely want the sewer pipe.

Initially, the PSA focused on (1) sewer expansion for Exmore, (2) sewer service for Nassawadox, the hospital, and surrounding areas, (3) sewer expansion for Cape Charles, and (4) sewer service for Cheriton and surrounding areas. The PSA also hoped to take over ownership and management of the existing Exmore, Cape Charles, and Bayview sewer and water systems. But in September 2013, the PSA amended their contract with Hurt and Proffitt, changing the service area from Cheriton and surrounding areas to a “Southern Node Phase I Wastewater-Commercial Area Project.” The amendment calls for a system designed to serve approximately 70 mostly commercial parcels along and near Route 13, with the wastewater to be transported to the Cape Charles treatment plant.

At a November 2010 PSA meeting, then-PSA Vice Chairman Bob Panek said that County Administrator Katherine Nunez had reported the County was about to set rates for the Bayview utilities once the transfer of the water and sewer systems to the County had taken place. It would be a flat rate of $39 a month for water and $39 a month for sewer.



4 Responses to “Supervisors Overrule PSA, Spend $10,000 for New Study”

  1. Deborah Bender on December 1st, 2014 8:47 am

    So if I read this correctly there are a whopping 5 people that want the “pipe”? The PSA has lost their minds if they want Northampton County to spend 2.7 million dollars for 5 customers. This is beyond ridiculous, and as many citizens of this county as will fit into the board room on December 9 need to be there to FIGHT this ridiculous Public Service Authority and their grand schemes. The Public Service Authority was created to help ordinary citizens NOT developers.
    The PSA needs to get the BOOT from this county NOW!

    And by the way — who are the 5 people or businesses that want the “pipe”?

  2. Tony Sacco on December 1st, 2014 2:04 pm

    I am trying to get a handle on the sewage and rezoning. The explanation from either one or all is not clear or they don’t want you to know the truth. I am getting very frustrated with Groups, Government, and Individuals that think they know the answer to everything; the fact is they don’t. We elected the Board, so like it or not we have to accept their decisions. Next time elect those that know what they’re doing and not someone from your church, club, or family. Otherwise we remain the poorest county in Virginia — no hospital, no jobs, and a corrupt way of life.

  3. Ken Dufty on December 7th, 2014 6:57 am

    So regarding the plan by the PSA, with Katie Nunez’s spurs dug deep into the Board and the PSA, some questions need to be answered. First, there have been behind-the-scenes rumors that the grand scheme is to attract a major hotel on a 2,000-foot stretch of Route 13 in the vicinity of the Food Lion plaza, and the new sewer pipe to Cape Charles is a necessary first step for that county plan. Note that land is currently zoned agriculture but under the new proposed zoning ordinance it will be changed to allow such commercial uses. Question: Why should the taxpayers of Northampton County underwrite a sewer connection for a multi-million dollar hotel chain, at a taxpayer rate increase that could top 7% for every taxpayer in the county? Second question is this: Is it possible that because of the delay in the Board’s plans to steamroll new zoning changes into law, that we are beginning to see the “bigger picture” come into focus? After all, when Oyster is turned into a quasi-Ocean City, aren’t the masses going to need a place to stay? Third question: when we stay home and become complacent in the conduct of our local government, who can we blame when things spin out of control due to the fact that elected leaders (or their advisors, McSwain and Nunez) think we are not watching and do not care? HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL TUESDAY NIGHT 6 PM FOR A PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION OF OUR COMPASSION AND CONCERN FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL AND INCREDIBLY RARE PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK. OCCUPY THE OLD COURTHOUSE rally in Eastville, join with us — music, fun, camaraderie — and then a chance to address the Board (for our 3-minute slice of democracy!) and let them know we are watching, talking, and hoping that we can all come together with these honorable elected leaders and work together to move this county forward!

  4. David Boyd on December 7th, 2014 7:36 pm

    In theory, having the PSA take a look at the Bayview facility as a much cheaper alternative to the pipe to Cape Charles should be a good thing. In reality, we are paying the same firm, one more time, to tell us whether they would like to get a slice of a much larger pie (the Cape Charles pipe) or a slice of a much smaller pie (the Bayview Facility option.)

    Is Granville [Hogg] the only one who can see where this is going?

    The PSA doesn’t want to listen to the overwhelming majority who vehemently oppose this very expensive boondoggle. Many businesses in the commercial target footprint have asked to be excluded from the project. Bob Panek is trying to use the PSA and the Northampton County taxpayers as a way to bail Cape Charles out of the mess he created with his pie in the sky sewage plant for Cape Charles, when they had visions of Bay Creek splendor. When that didn’t work out, we were told the PSA sewer project would save the hospital for us. Now it is supposed to single handedly reverse the negative growth trend of the past 80 years.

    Wonder what the next fairy tale will be?