Washington’s long-awaited $4 million sewage-treatment plant quietly went live on April 19.
At Monday’s Washington Town Council meeting, Councilman Gary Schwartz reported that the plant received its state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) operations certificate April 16, “and as of today, we have 17 connections in operation,” he said. Those included the new plant’s two largest customers — the Rappahannock County Jail and the Inn at Little Washington’s restaurant (though some of the other Inn buildings are not yet connected).
Schwartz also reported that contractors have already installed more than half of the landscape screening — essentially, three boxwood shrubs that will mostly hide the above-ground control box for customers’ grinder pumps.
The council unanimously approved the wording of the “care and feeding of your grinder pump” document — essentially a list of substances you should never flush or allow down the drain. It will be mailed to all town residents.
Also to be mailed, on July 1, are something else new: the town’s first sewer bill. Payments listed on those bills will be due Aug. 1.
In other action, there were few public comments at the council’s hearing on the town’s 2011 budget. Several in attendance asked about the increase in the town’s promotional budget — it was $3,000 last year, and it’s budgeted at $7,000 this year.
Both Mayor Eugene Leggett and Councilman (and mayor-to-be) John Sullivan said the town had agreed to make some sort of donation to the new county Visitors Center scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend at the county-owned Avondale farmhouse just outside of town.
“I think they asked for $6,000, and I believe most of us thought that might be too much,” Sullivan said. “But we do want to support the new center.”
Leggett likewise said the council hadn’t decided on how much to contribute, but that it would most likely not be more than $4,000.