Emporia City Manager William Johnson works at his desk.

Last week, the Emporia City Council approved an ordinance adding $4.44 million to the Capital Improvement Plan Budget for FY2020-21.

The Intake Removal Project for the water system is key to the amended Capital Improvement Plan budget. Recent debris removal has proven successful.

“The water intake is a critical piece of our infrastructure and is much needed for the water intake,” Johnson said. “We’ve removed roughly 70,000 tons of debris from our intake.”

Johnson said the City received positive feedback from Washington and the regional Department of Environmental Quality office on a possible grant opportunity for the project. He also received positive feedback from Virginia U.S. House District 4 Congressman A. Donald McEachin.

The proposal comes from J.F. Brennan, Inc., a La Crosse, Wisconsin based company. The plan includes removing upstream debris by utilizing an underwater chainsaw to cut tree pieces to manageable sizes to bring them to the shore. It also calls for the re-inspection of the water intake once the debris removal gets completed.

Work on the Norwood Industrial Park will cost the City an estimated $4.35 million. The Norwood project includes running water lines to the industrial tract.

The City anticipates spending more than $22 million on several water and sewer projects in the next five years. The bulk of the costs come from water and sewer line replacement throughout the City. Manganese Contractors account for $4.5 million of the projected costs. Manganese is the culprit of portions of the City’s water supply turning into a brownish discoloration, especially during periods of sweltering temperatures. The tasks proposed by the City depend heavily on receiving grant funding for the work.