Tree cutting and markers along Godwin Boulevard signify the start of a two-phase pipeline project to deliver raw water from the Western Branch Pump Station to the G. Robert House Jr. Water Treatment Plant at Chuckatuck.
Phase one of the Western Tidewater Water Authority project involves installing a 36-inch pipe from the Norfolk-owned pump station alongside Route 10 to a point about a mile north of Reid’s Ferry Bridge, Suffolk’s Public Utilities Director Al Moor said.
“The easements are along the road, and they are now doing the clearing work,” he said.
Estimated to cost $3.8 million, the first phase is due for completion in November. It will cross the Nansemond River with a process known as horizontal directional drilling.
“Directional drilling is a drilling method which came out of the oil fields,” Moor said. “You have a drill rig on one side of the river drill a pilot hole across.”
A reamer will then enlarge the hole, which the pipe, after being laid out on the ground, will be pulled back through beneath the riverbed.
“It’s a continuous process once they start pulling the pipe,” Moor said.
Phase two of the project, budgeted at $12 million, remains in the design phase, with 95 percent of that process complete.
With construction due to get under way this coming fall for completion in summer 2014, the 36-inch pipe will continue north along Route 10 before peeling east at about the Dominion Virginia Power complex, before reaching Pembroke Lane, Moor said.
The pipe will then traverse a series of easements, and change direction again to the north, before hooking up with the water treatment plant outside the village of Chuckatuck, which is itself undergoing major improvements.
“It will discharge into the lake behind the fire station at Chuckatuck,” Moor said.
The contract Suffolk has with Norfolk for raw water, to 2048, will deliver 15 million gallons a day to the treatment plant by 2037, Moor said.
Suffolk will keep 75 percent of that water and be paid by Isle of Wight for the remainder, he said.
The notice to proceed with the first phase was issued only last month, Moor said. T.A. Sheets of Chesapeake has the contract.
The $14-million phase two cost estimate should be reduced in the bidding process, he said.