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Stafford Opens Rocky Pen Run Reservoir: County’s Largest Public Works Project in History

By Potomac Local January 30, 2014 8:30 am

2 Comments

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A new reservoir, Rocky Pen Run, was put into operation Tuesday, as development and population in Stafford County continue to grow. With water reserves to help serve the county’s 134, 352 residents, it is considered the largest public work project to take place in Stafford.

More information from a press release from Stafford County:

“Our population has more than doubled in the last 20 years and the number of businesses and employee base has risen as well,” said Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier, Griffis-Widewater District. “Rocky Pen Run’s 5.5 billion gallon reservoir will allow us to meet the needs of both our private and corporate citizens for years to come.”

While the new reservoir will enhance service to customers in the southern and western portions of Stafford, the water can be pumped throughout the County based upon need. Rocky Pen Run will join Abel Lake and Smith Lake in supplying water to County customers. The new reservoir will draw water from the Rappahannock River, doubling the safe yield capacity of the water supply system from what exists today.

While one of the reservoir’s main functions will be providing water for local consumption, Rocky Pen Run will also be available for use as a recreation location, with opportunities for fishing, boating and kayaking. 

One important factor for this reservoir development was the innovative use of funding the project, as no taxpayer dollars were used.

The entire project has been funded through user fees charged by the Department of Utilities. Over the years, in anticipation of the Rocky Pen Run Dam, Reservoir and Water Treatment Facility, the County built up reserves from expansion fees. Expansion fees are one-time revenues paid by new users as they join the Utilities system. The project has been funded through those expansion fees as well as $61 million in bonds issued in 2012. Future debt service will be paid through expansion fees.

In the future, the county is looking at using this community resource to cool tech equipment, used in expanding Internet connectivity across Stafford.

 Photo credit: Stafford County 

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  • Joe Brito

    Originally the reservoir project was projected to cost $54 M with a safe yield of 20 Million gallons a day (MGD).

    So far the County has spent $146 M on the reservoir, but still has to spend another $25 M for the related pipeline, water treatment plant, and water tower. The total investment will be about $171 M for a water supply that has an estimated safe yield of 12 Million Gallons a day(MGD).

    I believe the 12 MGD is a high number and the real number is more like 7 MGD. Only when the reservoir is fully operational in about 5 to 10 years will we know what the true safe yield is. Using the higher number of 12 MGD yield the County has invested $14.25 M per MGD safe yield. A well could have been drilled on the Eastern end of the County for $5 M and produced 5 MGD at a cost of $1 M per MGD.

    Stafford citizens and businesses are paying and will continue to pay a hefty price for this reservoir over the next 40 years.

    Water user fees have increased a whopping 89% since 2005, but sum of the increase is from subsidizing residential developments.

    The financial plan needs another 22% increase in user fees in about 2 years in order to balance the books.

    Water tap fees have more then doubled in order to pay for the reservoir. The Water/Sewer tap fee for a business or school with a two inch meter is about $85,000. These high tap fees are adding to the cost of school and other building construction. The high tap fees have to be paid up front before a business locates to the County, which detours businesses from locating to Stafford.

  • Joe Brito

    Originally the reservoir project was projected to cost $54 M with a safe yield of 20 Million gallons a day (MGD).

    So far the County has spent $146 M on the reservoir, but still has to spend another $25 M for the related pipeline, water treatment plant, and water tower. The total investment will be about $171 M for a water supply that has an estimated safe yield of 12 Million Gallons a day(MGD).

    I believe the 12 MGD is a high number and the real number is more like 7 MGD. Only when the reservoir is fully operational in about 5 to 10 years will we know what the true safe yield is. Using the higher number of 12 MGD yield the County has invested $14.25 M per MGD safe yield. A well could have been drilled on the Eastern end of the County for $5 M and produced 5 MGD at a cost of $1 M per MGD.

    Stafford citizens and businesses are paying and will continue to pay a hefty price for this reservoir over the next 40 years.

    Water user fees have increased a whopping 89% since 2005, but sum of the increase is from subsidizing residential developments.

    The financial plan needs another 22% increase in user fees in about 2 years in order to balance the books.

    Water tap fees have more then doubled in order to pay for the reservoir. The Water/Sewer tap fee for a business or school with a two inch meter is about $85,000. These high tap fees are adding to the cost of school and other building construction. The high tap fees have to be paid up front before a business locates to the County, which detours businesses from locating to Stafford.