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Cost to be Determined For Louisa, Fluvanna Pipeline - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Cost to be Determined For Louisa, Fluvanna Pipeline

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A decades-old debate appears to be on track for a peaceful solution.  Louisa County says it will foot the bill for the James River Pipeline Project - but the county also says it still has to iron out a number of details before it knows how much things will cost.

Tuesday night demonstrated a meeting of the minds between Louisa and Fluvanna supervisors, after both sides were open to a new proposal - and it may be the most cost-effective plan to date.

"Both counties need it, there's no question about it," said Robert Dubé, Louisa County administrator.

It wasn't a question of need, but instead a matter of how. Now that supervisors in Louisa and Fluvanna have agreed on changing the design of the James River Pipeline Project, Louisa is moving forward on fitting the bill.

"What the concept is, is for us to pay for it up front, to get it going and whatever point that they have the wherewithal to get into the project when they need the water then they can buy into it," said Dubé.

The new plan will have the pipeline come up through the colonial gas easement, and bring a treatment plant in Louisa.

"That puts it in Louisa, the shortest possible distance, and we were just looking to cut some of the cost," said Dubé.

Dubé says the county doesn't know how much the project will cost because it didn't want to get premature estimates without Fluvanna being on board. He also says Louisa is looking at several options for funding, but that it will depend on the total amount.

The James River Water Authority representing both counties will be key in laying out the details.

"The James River Water Authority has a combined permit to withdraw water from the James River, it's just never been activated yet," said Steve Nichols, Fluvanna County administrator and member of the JRWA.

Tuesday night was another step toward activating that permit, opening the door to put down piping, withdraw water from the river and ultimately meet the needs of people in both Fluvanna and Louisa.

"We benefit from a sustainable water system and we can keep drinking water throughout the county at some point," said Dubé.

Dubé says, once the county gets a better idea of the engineering involved, it can start throwing out some estimates. He did say he doesn't expect the project to be as high as the $50 million-$55 million estimate from 2010.

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