New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | October 4, 2023

Charles City County barters to reduce fines levied by Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

By Andre Jones | August 23, 2023 9:21 am

It’s no secret that Charles City County has struggled to keep their wastewater treatment plants up to standards set forth by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). But through progress and negotiations, they escaped what could have been a huge financial blow to the budget.

Bartering with DEQ over violations to four Charles City wastewater treatment plans have resulted in the county paying total fines in the amount of $33,911.

The information of the deal emerged at Charles City’s Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night. County Administrator Michelle Johnson said that originally the county was hammered with $350,000 in fees over violations.

“We have gone back and forth and negotiated for countless hours with DEQ,” Johnson said. “DEQ has agreed to these terms and amounts.”

Johnson’s bartering skills centered around the progress being made at the four plants that were fined. A fine of $7,744 was levied against Ruthville’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, but construction for upgrades were being made there. The wastewater treatment plant located at Charles City’s Administration Building received a $10,000 fine, but that plant is planned to undergo replacement. The Hideaway Wastewater Treatment Plant ($7,413) and Mt. Zion Wastewater Treatment Plant ($8,724) received reduced fines due to training and requirements being made by county staff.

District 2 leader Bill Coada, who has been adamant about resolving issues at the plants since he took office 12 years ago, spoke about the age of the plants.

“Two of those plants came over from the Mayflower,” he said, joking about their age but still indicating how old they were. “To be able to reduce [the fines] like you (Michelle Johnson) did, you did an amazing job.

“We are making headway, but we got some ways to go,” Coada concluded.

All four consent orders to pay the fines were unanimously agreed to by all three members of the board of supervisors.