James River Water Authority scouting alternative locations for water pump after facing opposition

James River Water Authority scouting alternative locations for water pump after facing opposition
Rassawek, the ancestral capital of what is now called the Monacan Indian Nation, sits at the confluence of the Rivanna and James rivers. (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - James River Water Authority (JRWA) of Fluvanna and Louisa County is working to find an alternative location for a much-needed water pump after facing opposition from the Monacan Indian Nation.

The water authority was originally planning on putting a water pump at Point of Fork, where the James and Rivanna rivers converge in Fluvanna County. The area was deemed an endangered historical site by the National Historic Trust.

“At present, the current project permit application is on hold and that was a JRWA’s request. The reason why we asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put the permit on hold is so that we could continue to talk to other folks and more fully vet and evaluate other alternatives,” said Justin Curtis, a legal representative for JWRA.

On Wednesday, JWRA decided to authorize a further archaeological study at a site, what they’ve called Option 1C, roughly 2 miles upstream.

“That is an alternative project pump station location and waterline route that had been tentatively identified by the Monacan Indian Nation as their preference, subject to further archaeological study and evaluation to make sure there are no significant historical resources at that site as well, which we certainly don’t know," Curtis said.

According to Curtis, additional research will increase costs and delay the project.

“We have to take this delay and we have to sit on an existing permit application and string this out further, but it’s just prudent at this point to make sure that the final decision about what the best outcome and the best location is, based on the information, so it’s worthwhile just to take a little bit of time to make sure the water authority is getting everything right," Curtis said.

Curtis said there is no clear timeline for when the research will be complete.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.