Bedford Water Responds to Lawsuit
Bedford Water Responds to Lawsuit
January 29, 2014
The Bedford Regional Water Authority (“Authority”) filed a Demurrer on Monday, January 27, 2014 in response to local company Bedford Weaving’s law suit. The Authority has also formally responded to several accusations in a letter to the Planning Commission sent by Bedford Weaving.
Bedford Weaving’s concern with the Authority is that the water source for the company may change from the Stoney Creek Reservoir to Smith Mountain Lake after the completion of Smith Mountain Lake Water Treatment Plant Project (“the Project”). The Authority has been working with Bedford Weaving since the Authority’s formation in December 2012 to understand the softness/hardness of water needed for their plant. The Authority is only bound through regulations to provide potable water to its customers; these regulatory requirements do not take into consideration the softness or hardness of the water. However, being customer and business friendly, the Authority has worked to understand the needs of Bedford Weaving, even including Bedford Water’s water quality request in engineering studies being performed for the Project.
Bedford Weaving’s has asserted that “[u]ntil Bedford Weaving’s future water supply need is satisfactorily resolved .., Bedford Weaving will seek to utilize any and all practicable means allowed by law for challenging, delaying and defeating actions to interconnect the [Bedford City and Bedford County] water systems.” Bedford Weaving unfairly insists that its concerns be elevated above those of all other individual and commercial customers of the Authority’s water system.
Recently, a few of the tactics being used to delay the project are by filing a law suit against the Authority and writing a letter to the Planning Commission. The lawsuit suggests that the Authority is not authorized to complete the project since its Articles of Incorporation limit the Authority to only perform two projects: equalizing rates, and ensuring interconnectivity. This is clearly not the intent of the Articles of Incorporation and the Demurrer explains this and asks for the suit to be dismissed due to its irrationality.
The Planning Commission letter wrongfully says that the Planning Commission should suspend any action related to the Special Project Review because Bedford Weaving would like to challenge the Authority’s power and that the Authority did not file an environmental impact study for the project. Both of these items are not relevant to the Authority’s request to the Planning Commission and the accusations stated in the letter are inaccurate and irrelevant.
“The Authority has spent hours meeting with Bedford Weaving, discussing the situation and showing our willingness to work with them. However, our good faith efforts have resulted in Bedford Weaving serving us a law suit and declaring public statements of discontent. We believe in this project and its importance to not just our customers but the region as well. We cannot see this project delayed because of the irrationality of one customer,” stated Elmer Hodge, the Authority’s chair. “We believe that we have addressed Bedford Weaving’s concerns in the new system. We appreciate their business and the jobs they bring to our community. We are also obligated to strengthen the utility system to provide for the future well-being of all of our residents and corporate citizens.”
The Authority’s reason for building the Project is to provide a reliable, robust, and redundant water supply for the community, both present and future. The Project will allow the Authority to produce water at the lowest cost possible to ensure the lowest rates possible for customers. The Project will also allow the Authority to provide redundancy and backup of water to the region, specifically the Town of Bedford, as required in the consolidation agreement. In providing this redundancy the Authority can ensure that customers will have access to water in times of drought or emergencies.
To learn more about the project and to view the Demurrer and response to the Planning Commission letter, visit www.brwa.com.