Roanoke Co. Community Opposes Water and Sewer Line Project

Roanoke Co., VA. - A Roanoke County community fears a planned water and sewage project through their neighborhood could do more harm than good.

Billy Spradlin says he isn't typically the guy to stand up and make noise when something is perceived to go wrong until, he says, he got notice last month of a joint plan to run water and sewage lines along Rutrough Road.

A sewage line that turns out to be a drainage pipe that would carry leachate from a closed landfill to a sewage treatment plant several miles away.

"The thing about it is that's where all the money's at. It's what it's costing them to drain that landfill. And there's no money to be gotten out here. Ain't nobody going to hook up to it," said Spradlin.

With the likely route of the lines falling within a close proximity to many of his neighbor's wells Spradlin says the risk is too great for contamination.

The water authority disagrees.

"These systems are engineered to transmit the fluids that are being pumped. We have them all over Roanoke. So it's pretty established technology that has been used for years," said Mike McEvoy who is the Executive Director of the Western Virginia Water Authority.

Currently the leachate is collected at the landfill and trucked to the treatment plant - something the new line would negate.

With the water authority looking to expand its infrastructure into the area authorities say taking care of both lines at the same time is the logical choice.

A choice, though, that could lead to more than just a war of words.

"I done tried to get most people involved in it to try to help us. We may end up getting us a lawyer and do whatever," said Spradlin.

While this project has been authorized, the water authority's executive director says they still would need to acquire some right of ways on private land that could pose an obstacle to the project if those landowners decide they don't want to sell that right of way.