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Bedford reversion creates consolidated water business

By Tim Saunders, tsaunders@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jun 28 2013 04:28:23 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 28 2013 08:11:13 PM EDT

The citywater department is merging with the county public service authority. The two sides are creating a regional water and sewer company with big plans for expansion.

BEDFORD, Va. -

Reversion isn't just changing Bedford from a city to a town.

It's also effecting what comes out of the faucet.

Starting next month, customers who use town and county water will get a bill from a brand new company: The Bedford Regional Water Authority.

"For the most part, it's business as usual," said Brian Key, executive director of the new organization, which is essentially a combination of the city and county's existing resources.

"We still have the same plants that we have to operate," Key said. "We still have the same service area that we're providing the service in."

By joining forces, the two localities can plan bigger projects.

One idea being discussed is building a new water line from Smith Mountain Lake to the town of Bedford and Forest. It would cost $33-million, but it's estimated to save the county roughly the same amount of money over the next 30 years.

That's because Bedford wouldn't have to buy as much water from Lynchburg.

"The water line from Smith Mountain Lake to Forest is a very expensive project, but it's a project that pays for itself," said Key.

Having public water available in more rural areas of the county could encourage growth.

The goal for now isn't to necessarily bring in more customers, but to better serve the ones that already exist.

"The opportunity is definitely to strengthen our ability to provide services to the community," said Key.

Bedford customers could see a change right away on their water bills.

The water authority board met a few days ago and passed new rates that go into effect July 1st.

Click here to see the new rates.