New Earthen Dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir Hits Roadblock - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New Earthen Dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir Hits Roadblock

Posted: Updated: July 5, 2011 05:01 PM EDT

After years of debate, it sounded like it was a done deal; a new earthen dam was going to be built at Ragged Mountain Reservoir. But those plans have hit a snag Tuesday. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says it needs more information and an all out public hearing, before making a decision on changes to a permit to build the dam.

At the very least it means a delay for construction, from this fall, to next year. That is - if the DEQ is happy with the answers it gets. A three page letter clearly spells out issues for a new Ragged Mountain Dam and a potential permit change is now on hold.

RWSA Executive Director Tom Frederick stated, "They're asking us to give them a tally basically show how we came up with our numbers in a little more detail which is fair and reasonable."

The DEQ sent the letter to the RWSA saying the proposed permit change is considered a major modification. The changes reflect the earthen dam and a reservoir pool height of 30 feet. As a result, the DEQ says a public hearing will need to be held.

"I consider this fairly routine and procedural in the nature of the types of questions they asked in their letter," said Frederick.

Following a public hearing, the DEQ says a decision on the modified permit won't happen until early 2012. Work was supposed to start on a new earthen dam in the fall. Now it won't happen until next year.

"The bid climate for construction is very good right now and we don't know when that window is going to close and when the construction price market is going to rebound," said Frederick.

Members of Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan met with DEQ last week. They say they are happy they can give their two cents on the idea.

Rebecca Quinn of Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan stated, "This will be the first formal public hearing held by the DEQ on this permit and it will be the first time that we can get on the record a great deal of new information and new studies."

The executive director of the RWSA says the organization is preparing the answers, he says the information will be easy to obtain. They hope to get the answers to DEQ this week.

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