P.E.C. opens new fronts in war on dredging
Jeff Werner, the Land-Use field officer for a group called the Piedmont Environmental Council, says that the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority's $143 million water supply plan is the "least expensive" alternative, and he cites alleged ulterior motives of those who would oppose the controversial plan.
"Dredging is more expensive," says Werner in a 33-minute discussion on the May 9 talk-show hosted by former City Councilor Rob Schilling on WINA-AM radio. During the program, Werner accuses the Hook of "misrepresenting," of offering "misinformation," "no analysis," and also of being "offensive" and "inappropriate."
The Hook has reported that a firm called Gannett Fleming won a $3.1 million dam design deal after alleging that dredging the Rivanna Reservoir could cost $145 million and later claimed it might cost as much as $225 million, a sum that exceeds a recent contract to dredge over 50 million cubic yards from the Panama Canal–- a contrast which Werner branded "theater."
Another firm, Gahagan & Bryant, has offered a ballpark dredging estimate of $25-30 million including dewatering–- everything but land purchase or, alternatively, tipping fees, which the firm confirms would be under $2.50 per cubic yard. In other words, a top price of $35.5 million.
And yet Werner declares that unless dredging costs less than $16 million, it's not economical; and, furthermore, he claims that Gahagan & Bryant (which pitched itself to the public May 5 and to City Council on May 6) "agreed" with Gannett Fleming.
Below are MP3s of the discussion. Part III includes Werner's assertions of ulterior motives: that opposition to the plan emanates from a desire to choke off growth, a wish for "paralysis by analysis," or from a friendship with Dede Smith (an opponent of clear-cutting 180 acres of mature forest in the Ragged Mountain Natural Area).
Since I'm Hawes Spencer, the fellow guest on this radio show and the guy jotting this little write-up, it might be unfair for me to try to characterize the dialogue, but I would encourage water wonks to hear it and draw their own conclusions about this method of defending a $143 million water plan.