Currently, SERCAP’s Regional Department is working with the Hardy Road Trailer Park water system in Bedford County, VA, to bring them back into compliance with the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Office of Drinking Water’s (ODW) regulations. The Hardy Road Trailer Park water system had been struggling with compliance issues for several years, and by the end of 2018 the system was considered to be a Significant Non-complier in Virginia. In mid-2019, the ODW recommended that the system reach-out to SERCAP for assistance. SERCAP took on the system as a Technical Assistance (TA) project and helped the system in securing a Small Systems Engineering Grant to procure a project engineer to design the necessary system improvements. However, throughout the course of the project, a new solution presented itself. Between the systems history of non-compliance, and the system-owners desire to leave the water business, one of SERCAP’s Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs) determined this would be the ideal time for a system consolidation with the Bedford Regional Water Authority (BRWA).
Recently, SERCAP’s Certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Loan Fund assisted a low-income single woman in Rockingham County, VA, to have a new well drilled at her home. The client had been experiencing difficulties with her existing well, due to tree roots which had grown into the cistern tank, causing significant damage. Despite having the well pumped and the interior of the well completely redone, the well continued leaking, leaving her without adequate and reliable access to potable water in her home. However, due to the client’s low-income status, she was unable to afford the full cost of drilling a new well on her own, without causing serious financial hardship.
Currently, SERCAP’s Housing Department is assisting a low-income single woman living in Buckingham County, VA, to complete a substantial reconstruction of her home. The client has lived in her home for over 48 years, and the well and septic system are at least that old. Recently, she began experiencing difficulty with the septic system on the property. The local Health Department determined that the septic system was failing, and she was referred to SERCAP for assistance. Initially, she applied for assistance from SERCAP with her elderly, disabled father, however the father recently passed away. Fortunately, the daughter is also low-income, and was still able to qualify on her own for financial assistance through the Indoor Plumbing & Rehabilitation (IPR) Program, funded by the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development, allowing SERCAP to continue with the project.
Currently, SERCAP’s Regional Department is working with the Town of Hillsboro in Loudoun County, VA, to conduct an income survey that will potentially allow the Town to qualify for a specialized funding package from USDA’s Rural Utility Service (RUS) for its planned wastewater infrastructure improvement project. The Town is undertaking a large road improvement project, and has determined that pairing its planned water/wastewater infrastructure improvements with the road project, will save the Town money and be less disruptive than conducting a second stand-alone project in the future. The Town is looking to improve its water/wastewater infrastructure quality by completing several water and sewer line installations along the same road, undergoing construction for the road project.
Currently, SERCAP has partnered with the Floyd Initiative for Safe Housing (FISH), a grass-roots organization serving Floyd County, to provide funding for water/wastewater needs for seven (7) households as part of the Floyd County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project. In February 2020, SERCAP’s Housing Department was selected as the Housing Rehabilitation Specialists for the Floyd County CDBG Planning Grant. The proposed $1.2 million+ scattered site project will provide housing rehabilitation services to 15 low-to-moderate income (LMI) households throughout the county, and was based off housing rehabilitation work initiated by FISH.
Currently, SERCAP is developing a Septic System Maintenance Education & Pump-Out Program that will promote water quality and local source water protection through public education and financial assistance, specifically focused in Franklin County, VA and Pittsylvania County, VA. The program will deliver several Septic System Maintenance Education workshops covering comprehensive information on septic systems, including: Types of Septic Systems, How your Septic System Works?, Why Maintain your Septic System?, How to Care for your Septic System, What to do if your Septic System Fails, and Budgeting for Future Septic System Maintenance. The program will also provide financial assistance to low-to-moderate income (LMI) participants for septic pump-outs. Once an LMI individual successfully completes a workshop, the program will pay for an initial septic system pump-out at a 100%, and in five-years will pay for 50% of a second septic system pump-out. SERCAP’s Regional Department is finalizing the workshop materials, and has begun scheduling its initial online Septic System Maintenance and Education workshops for Summer 2020.
Giles County, located in southwest Virginia, owns and operates nine (9) different small water systems serving nearly 2,500 people (1,400 connections) across 13 separate communities. The County, along with the five (5) municipalities located within the County, make up the Giles County Public Service Authority (PSA); a separate entity which produces and sells bulk drinking water to its six (6) members. Though the six (6) members of the PSA have managed to provide access to public water to the most populous, and even some of the more sparsely populated, areas, there remains approximately a one-mile developed stretch of US Route 460 (which transverses Giles County from east to west) which still lacks water infrastructure.
Currently, SERCAP is providing Housing Rehabilitation Specialist Services to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Construction Improvement Grant (CIG) Project for the East Atlantic Street Neighborhood in the City of Emporia, VA. SERCAP was selected as the Housing Rehabilitation Specialist for the project in late 2016, and has been diligently working to complete the rehabilitation of 16
investor-owned housing units and two owner-occupied housing units for the past three+ years.
During this time of uncertainty, SERCAP’s dedicated staff members are continuing to provide Training, Technical, and Financial Assistance to both rural communities and low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals for water, wastewater, housing, and community development needs. In accordance with the Governor’s orders, SERCAP staff are working remotely, where possible, and providing services via telephone and online web conference software, in order to continue providing critical support.
SERCAP’s Regional Department, in partnership with Spring Point Partners and Mountain Empire Community College, is in the process of establishing a Water/Wastewater Operator Training Program in Virginia. The program will help individuals, looking to establish a new career or change careers to a highly employable field, to meet the requirements for sitting for the state licensure exam to become a water and/or wastewater operator. Currently, the water/wastewater field is experiencing a shortage of qualified individuals to fill operator positions. The majority of the existing slate of water/wastewater operators are nearing retirement, and there is a severe lack of qualified candidates to replace them.
Recently, SERCAP’s Essential & Critical Needs Program assisted a low-income veteran in Tazewell County, VA, with the water-lines at his home, which desperately needed to be repaired. However, due to his
low-income status, he was unable to afford the cost of the repairs himself without experiencing significant financial hardship.
Recently, SERCAP’s Housing Department assisted a low-income family of three (3) in Caroline County, VA, by replacing their failing septic system. The clients have lived in the home for over 30 years, and recently began experiencing difficulty with their septic system. They needed to have both a new alternative septic system and an updated electrical box installed, in order for the system to run properly. However, due to the clients’ low-income status, they were unable to afford the cost of the new system on their own.
As March and April 2020 rapidly approach, SERCAP’s VFC Alternative Break Program is gearing up for its Spring Break 2020 Weeks of Service! Thus far, SERCAP has confirmed that approximately 199 students from three Colleges and Universities, including: College of the Holy Cross, St. Joseph’s University, and the University of Delaware, will be participating in this year’s Spring Break Week of Service, specifically by sending students to community volunteer sites in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Back in the Spring of 2017, SERCAP was selected as the Housing Rehabilitation Specialist for the Lower Roxbury Neighborhood Revitalization Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Project, in the Town of Clifton Forge, in Alleghany County, VA. When the project’s previous Housing Rehabilitation Specialist failed to meet the Town’s expectations, they released a new request for proposals (RFP) for Housing Rehabilitation Specialist services for the project. Summit Engineering referred SERCAP to the
RFP, and SERCAP’s Housing Department was selected to take over as the project’s new Housing Rehabilitation Specialist.
Recently, SERCAP’s Certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Loan Fund assisted an elderly woman in Cumberland County, VA, to have a new well drilled at her home. The client’s old well went dry, leaving her completely without access to potable water for several months. However, due to the client’s low-income status, she was unable to afford the cost of drilling a new well on her own without causing serious financial hardship.
Recently, SERCAP’s Essential & Critical Needs Program assisted a low-income couple in Caroline County, VA, with repairing their water-lines. The water pipes and hoses at their home had deteriorated and needed repairs. However, since the couple’s sole income is from social security, they were unable to afford the cost of the repairs themselves without experiencing financial hardship.
Home to 114 African American residents, the small community of Weems is located in the Greentown and Gaskins Road area of Lancaster County, VA. In 2016, funds from USDA’s Rural Utility Service (RUS) and a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) were designated for the construction of a wastewater treatment system to serve the community’s 45 households. Initially, a Package Plant known as the Living Machine, which mimics a natural wetland system, was built. This type of system requires a minimum intake of wastewater so it will continually move through the tanks and not lay dormant. However, due to engineering and construction delays, the treatment plant lay idle for a couple of years before it was placed into service.
Recently, SERCAP’s Certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Loan Fund assisted a low-income family of four (4) living in Culpeper County, VA, to have a new well drilled at their home. The clients old well went dry, leaving them completely without access to potable water for several weeks. However, due to the clients’ low-income status, they were unable to afford the cost of drilling a new well on their own without causing serious financial hardship.
In June of 2017, SERCAP’s Housing Department was awarded the Rehabilitation Specialist Services Contract for the Stanardsville Downtown Revitalization Project, a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Construction Improvement Grant (CIG) project in Greene County, VA. Over the past 30 months, SERCAP’s Housing Team has diligently worked with the community to oversee the rehabilitation of the designated properties selected for the project. Once the project is complete, SERCAP will have provided housing rehabilitation assistance to 10 downtown apartment units in the Town of Stanardsville. The project will bring the selected apartment units up to the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development’s (DHCD) Housing Quality Standards (HQS), improve the beneficiaries’ living conditions, and remove blight from the community.