Watery topics flood Vienna Utility Board

VIENNA – The Vienna Utility Board discussed water meter replacements, stormwater regulations, floodplain mapping and water tank renovation financing Tuesday evening.

Residents who have irrigation systems on their property will be receiving letters informing them they have three months to replace their private irrigation system water meters, said Craig Metz, Vienna public works director.

Residents will be given the components for upgrading free of charge, said Metz.

Residents who fail to upgrade their irrigation meter within a three-month period will no longer have the secondary irrigation meter read, said Metz.

Approximately 600 residents in Vienna have these irrigation meters which will not communicate with the newly installed wireless system, said Metz. Upgrading these systems will allow the irrigation meter to communicate wirelessly as well, which will allow remote deductions of the irrigation gallons from the water bill to continue, Metz said.

“The installation is rather simple,” said Metz. “It doesn’t have to be changed out by a professional if you know what you are doing.”

The letters will contain additional details for property owners, Metz said.

On the topic of stormwater reviews for building permits, Metz explained that future structures will be required to capture the first inch of stormwater and keep it on the property indefinitely. Residents are encouraged to participate in the program, Metz said.

Metz suggests diverting the runoff water into flower gardens or for use in irrigation. “There are many ways that residents can re-use their stormwater runoff, rather than simply shove it into the sewers,” he said.

The first inch of rain carries with it all of the pollutants found in driveways, on roofs, and across parking lots, said Metz.

“If we divert this water back into the ground locally, the plant life can deal with those pollutants, and by the time the water reaches our water table, it will be clean and usable again,” he said.

The supplies needed to divert this first inch of stormwater to local use would cost the average household less than $100, Metz said.

Vienna heard a presentation by Doug Swearingen with First Neighborhood Bank concerning the options available to the city through the private financing sector for the water tank renovation project.

Swearingen pointed out that a private loan through First Neighborhood Bank would be at 2 percent below West Virginia interest rates and draw no interest until money was withdrawn for construction.

No offer has been made by any financial institution to the city for the financing of the water tank renovation project.

The budget and finance meeting, held earlier on Tuesday, included plans to update the electricity in McDonough Wildlife Refuge, plans to intervene to prevent Jackson Hill from slipping further, and the purchase of a 2014 Jeep Laredo for the mayor’s office, paid for by state contract funds, for $25,581.