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Augusta Begins Sewer Project to Improve Greenville - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Augusta Begins Sewer Project to Improve Greenville

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A major sewer project - four years in the planning - is finally underway in Greenville.But this project is not just about convenience. Augusta County officials say it protects public health and the very future of the town.

Greenville dates back to the late 1700s and the heart of the village is divided into postage-stamp lots. That severely restricts property owners who want to install their own septic systems, sell or renovate their homes, or operate a business.

But crews have begun a $4 million fix.

The first phase of the Greenville sewer project means a whole lot of clawing through the muddy earth - and sometimes snow.

"There's a lot of challenges in this village. There's a lot of rock in this village. A lot of tiny little lots, a lot of older houses close together, but they've figured out a way to make it work," said Nancy Sorrells, Augusta County Service Authority board member.

That way is hooking up to Augusta County's public sewer system. At a cost of $1,000 each, 135 property owners will connect.

"We estimated really, probably $13,000 or $14,000 would typically be what it costs a resident to connect. So it's a bargain. That's why we had such good participation," said Kim Cameron, engineer with Augusta County Service Authority.

Most of the property owners willingly signed up but Augusta County did force the final 15 to make the switch. The alternative would have been pricey, engineered systems or failing septic that makes it tough to sell a house, and may endanger the nearby South River.

"If you look along Main Street here the lot sizes are very small, and they don't really have room to put in a drain field that would meet today's requirements," Cameron said.

The project will allow for more commercial development along Route 11 just north of town. But the county's quick to point out that's not the main reason for the work.

"This is a public health issue. This was a property rights issue, protecting people's property and their future," Sorrells said.

Loans and grants from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Conservation helped Augusta County pay for the project.

Property owners should be ready to connect about this time next year.

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