The Buchanan County Public Service Authority (BCPSA) owns and operates a huge water distribution system in far southwest Virginia. Major components of the BCPSA water system include:
- 450 miles of water line
- Service to 7,733 customers
- 79 pumping stations and 66 water storage tanks
Approximately 95% of the water serving the BCPSA water system is purchased from the John Flannagan Water Authority (JFWA). Since the 1970's, water from the JFWA was transported to the BCPSA by two (2) pumping stations and approximately 40,000 feet of 16-inch asbestos concrete (AC) water transmission line along Route 83. Over the decades of service, many challenges developed with the water pumping and transmission infrastructure. Some of the issues included:
- Soil corrosion potential
- Water accountability below acceptable levels
- Difficult access for maintenance and repairs
- Insufficient capacity for adequate service to expanded service areas
- Reliability issues with long-term power outages
The BCPSA commissioned Thompson & Litton, Inc. (T&L) to study and design solutions to provide a reliable and long-term water transmission system for its vast system. "When you consider that this water infrastructure is the main artery for over 7,700 customers, it was imperative to address our reliability challenges," said Greg McClanahan, Executive Director of the BCPSA.
Working in partnership with the BCPSA, T&L designed numerous improvements to the system, some of which include:
- Replacement of the 16-inch AC water transmission main with 18-inch ductile iron with double layer polyethylene wrap for corrosion protection (1)
- Installation of two (2) new 4,000 gpm pumping stations each equipped with three (3) 250 HP pumps (2)
- Installation of 750 Kw emergency generators in each pumping station (3)
- Other measures such as hydraulic surge control, Variable Frequency Drives for control of flow, etc.
Thanks to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), a funding package of $13 million was provided, which is the largest VDH-funded project ever in the State of Virginia. "Improving the reliability of this vast water system improves both the public health and quality of life in Buchanan County," said Steve Pellei, VDH Division Director.
The project was divided into three (3) construction contracts, all of which are substantially complete and under budget. The final total project cost is projected at $12.6 million.
In collaboration with VDH, Virginia Resources Authority serves as financial manager to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. VRA's effective financial management of VDH's program makes critically needed drinking water projects such as this possible.