The Five Forks Groundwater Treatment Facility
The Five Forks Water Treatment Facility (Facility) consists of five on-site wells drawing brackish groundwater from the Middle and Lower Potomac Aquifers. To make the water potable, we use a reverse osmosis treatment process to extract salts and other minerals. This extraction, also known as concentrate, is discharged through a pipeline into the
Phase I of the Facility produces 2.5 million gallons per day (mgd) and includes a 12-inch concentrate discharge line, a 16-inch potable water discharge main, five production wells, site grading and landscaping, and the treatment facility structure that houses the 5 mgd treatment facilities and processes. The potable discharge water main was constructed from the Five Forks Water Treatment Facility along Route 5 (John Tyler Highway) in the VDOT right-of-way to a connection to existing water mains near Jamestown High School. The concentrate discharge main was constructed underground through County property, Virginia Department of Transportation right-of ways and JCSA utilities easements to the James River.
Phase II will produce another 2.5 mgd of water by 2010. Phase II will include adding additional treatment processes and will not require additional expansions of the treatment facility structure.
By 2015, a Peninsula-wide regional water supply solution will be required. Possible solutions include water supplied by the King William Reservoir (pending final approval from the Corps of Engineers) and a second Groundwater Treatment Facility in the County.
The design and landscaping of the Facility was intended to compliment the character of the community. It was built on a sixteen-acre parcel of property behind Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School in the Five Forks area. The building is eight hundred feet from the school, over one thousand feet from any residential structure and four hundred and fifty feet from Route 5.
Based on a site analysis and test well results, this site was determined to be the best location for withdrawal from the Middle and Lower Potomac Aquifers. The site is also located near existing major water distribution lines, minimizing expensive upgrades to the JCSA's distribution system.
Project Schedule (Complete)
- Planning Commission Approval - May 2002
- Board of Supervisor's Approval - May/June 2002
- Access Road and Site Rough Grading June - December 2002
- Construction - January 2003 August 2005
- Start Up April 2005 August 2005
- Dedication April 22, 2005
To ensure that the Facility and Concentrate discharge line are environmentally sound, numerous permits from Federal, State and Local agencies are required, including a Groundwater Withdrawal Permit, a Concentrate Discharge Permit, and a James City County Special Use Permit. Agencies involved include the James City Service Authority, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Health, and the James City County Development and Environmental Departments. The JCSA has worked with these Agencies and have not had any insurmountable problems with obtaining the permits.
In November 2002, the DEQ issued the JCSA a draft Groundwater Withdrawal Permit for withdrawal of 5 mgd.
In May 2003 the DEQ issued the JCSA a Concentrate Discharge Permit to release the concentrate to the James River. Preliminary analysis showed that the concentrate discharge would not adversely affect the water quality of the James River. The JCSA is currently in compliance with the Concentrate Discharge Permit.
The Facility has all safeguards necessary to protect the public interest. Because it is a water treatment plant it is necessary to store and use chemicals like disinfectants. All chemical storage is in OSHA approved tanks that have secondary containment areas. In other words, should the primary tank fail a second containment structure is provided to prevent chemicals releases.
- Michael Vergakis, Chief Engineer Water, Project Manager
- Bruce Capps, Water Production Superintendent
- Bernard Farmer, Construction Manager
Buchart Horn, Inc., Engineers of Record
- Peter Trozze, AIA, Manager Director, Architectural/Engineering, Williamsburg, VA
- Dan Cargnel, P.E., Project Manager, Engineering/Permitting, Baltimore, MD
- Hank Gerhart, Construction Manager, Williamsburg, VA
WATEK Engineering Corporation, Desalination Processes and Permitting
- Ben Movahed, PE, DEE, Beltsville, MD
ROSTEK Associates, Inc., Membrane and Desalination Processes
- Ian Watson, PE, Tampa, FL
SEA, Inc., Concentrate Line and Yard Piping
- Everett Skipper, PE, Williamsburg , VA
AES Consulting Engineers
- Marc Bennett, PE, Project Engineer SUP Development and Site Plan Issues, Williamsburg , VA
Frequently Asked Questions
What is groundwater treatment?
Groundwater treatment is the process of creating drinking water by removing salt and other minerals from groundwater. The Facility uses reverse osmosis, a process that forces brackish water through semi-permeable membranes under high pressure, leaving behind the salts and minerals.
How much concentrate is left over, and how will it be disposed of?
One to 1.25 million gallons of concentrate is produced for every five million gallons of potable water. The concentrate is discharged via an underground pipeline line into the James River near the Ferry Site on Jamestown Road.
Will the cost of water increase?
Based on current projections the JCSA does not anticipate that the construction and operation of the Facility will increase the costs of water. However, this does not preclude the possibility of increases in water costs as a result of operating the entire water system.
How was the Facility funded?
The project cost approximately $20 million. The funds necessary to construct this project were obtained through the issuance of revenue bonds ($15 million) and JCSA reserve funds ($5 million).
Were any neighborhoods disrupted during the construction of the Facility and the concentrate discharge line?
The neighborhoods adjacent to the Facility did not experience any disruption during construction, except for a one-time, forty-eight to seventy two hour pump test for each of the four additional wells to be constructed. The pump test was required by the Virginia Department of Health as a safeguard to ensure the adequate pumping capacity. The wells and daily operations are contained inside the Facility, ensuring an essentially silent operation.
The concentrate discharge line runs through County property, VDOT right-of-ways, and JCSA utility easements, minimizing disruptive construction along roads and on private property.
Precautions were taken to minimize the impacts, which were limited to construction noises, traffic issues related to construction with-in VDOT right-of-ways.
Why are some JCSA customers experiencing discolored water since the Facility became operational?
Because of the Facility’s location, the hydraulics of the JCSA distribution system has changed. Water that once went east may now be going west. All water systems establish a film within the interior of the pipe. With the water going in a different direction, the film is dislodging causing discoloration of the water. The JCSA has been flushing the areas where we have complaints and will continue to do so. We anticipate the situation should be temporary.