Southern Environmental Law Center expresses concern over water pump project

Southern Environmental Law Center expresses concern over water pump project
Point of Fork in Fluvanna County (FILE)

ZION CROSSROADS, Va. (WVIR) - A controversial project that would support growth in the area of Zion Crossroads is under fire again, this time taking heat from the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC).

In a letter, SELC expressed concern about the proposed water pump station to the James River Water Authority, which is the entity overseeing the project. The center acknowledged the need for the project in its letter, but goes on to recommend both Louisa and Fluvanna counties to “reevaluate” the project’s location.

The proposed station is set to be built on top of sacred land to the Monacan Indian Nation. Those in favor of the project argue this is the best site for the station, saying a new water source is necessary to support growing demand and population in Zion Crossroads.

The Southern Environmental Law Center’s complaint is just the latest in a series of complications and setbacks to the project.

“We wrote the letter with Preservation Virginia, which is the leading the state-wide historic preservation organization and it just adds another voice to this kind of rising public concern with siting the project at Point of Fork,” said Carroll Courtenay, associate attorney at the SELC.

Statement from the James River Water Authority in response to the SELC letter:

SELC’s letter reflects critical misunderstandings about JRWA’s public water supply project. Selecting a location to construct a new public water supply is not a simple task. There are many reasons – including engineering, construction, water quality, cost, and other limitations – why a location may not be suitable. This is not the first time JRWA has carefully evaluated other locations for the water supply project. The present site was selected because no viable alternative locations previously were identified. Nevertheless, JRWA is undertaking a thorough reevaluation of potential locations. That evaluation is nearing completion and the results will be made public.

Louisa and Fluvanna Counties are rapidly growing and straining their existing water supplies. These communities are at a critical juncture where a new source of clean, reliable, and affordable drinking water is vitally needed. JRWA has and will continue to work with citizens and interested parties, including SELC, who wish to work in good faith to find ways to be sensitive to the area’s rich history, but attempts by third-party special interests to frustrate completion of this public water project are unwelcome and unacceptable.

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