After county supervisors decided in a split vote to make Loudoun Water the provider of choice for new water and sewer hookups near Leesburg, the utility has been revising its plans to get ready for that.
The Joint Land Management Area, to Leesburg’s east and south, is under the county government’s control for decisions about development and land use, but previous county policies called for the town government to provide utility service to—and even eventually annex—the land. Until the final few days of supervisors’ work on the new county Comprehensive Plan, the town’s water utility was the provider of choice in that area.
But supervisors in June changed that policy, giving Loudoun Water the right of first refusal to serve new businesses and homes in that area. The Leesburg Town Council has sued the Board of Supervisors over that decision, and is simultaneously attempting to annex a part of that area including the Compass Creek development and a planned Microsoft project.
Board of Supervisor Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn), who pushed to make the change in policy, said it was in response to Leesburg’s high rates, which he said threatened to chase away business prospects.
A report from Loudoun Water to the board’s finance committee Oct. 8 illustrated the difference. Assuming a resident used 21,000 gallons of water and produced that much sewage, they would pay Loudoun Water $226.73 quarterly. Under Leesburg’s out-of-town rates, they would pay $452.62, about twice as much.
Loudoun Water General Manager Carla Burleson said the utility began revising its master plan to accommodate the change as soon as supervisors voted, including meeting with developers to figure out how much additional capacity they will need.
“I think the challenge may be on those that may wish to develop that area, because obviously there’s a farther distance to go from our facilities to there, but it’s a little premature to know what that looks like until we get the master planning done,” Burleson said.
But as soon as that’s done, she said, the timeline will depend on developers extending those service lines to their projects.
The expansion into the Leesburg JLMA would be only one of the utility’s ambitious expansion projects. Loudoun Water also this year opened the Trap Rock Water Treatment Facility, which is producing 10 million gallons per day of water, according to the utility’s report. It is also nearing completion of the design for a project to expand its Broad Run Water Reclamation Facility’s capacity by 50 percent, allowing it to treat 16.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. Construction is expected to begin next year.
Deputy General Manager Mark Peterson said while the Beaverdam Reservoir is refilling more slowly than expected, it is should reopen to the public for recreation by the spring. The reservoir was temporarily drained and closed to the public for renovations. Today, plans for a Beaverdam Reservoir park are also underway.
“It’s a unique experience, I think, in Loudoun County, with the recreation really based on passive recreation, hiking, and getting people on the water … but with an emphasis on the drinking water reservoir and what that means around water management,” Peterson said. “And we plan to do a lot of education around that, and so it becomes an outdoor kind of education center.”
But the most visible of the utility’s projects may be the expected handoff of one of Luck Stone’s Ashburn-area quarry pits, where the company is expected to finish mining by the end of the year and turn it over to Loudoun Water. That is expected to be up and running again as a reservoir in 2023 or 2024. Burleson said it will be known as Milestone Reservoir as “this is a major milestone for both Loudoun Water, the county, and our regional partners.”