SERCAP’s Regional Program has been providing long-term assistance to Tangier Island, a part of Accomack County, VA, for several years now. Tangier is a small island of approximately 740 acres, located in the Chesapeake Bay, and is only accessible via ferry or small airplane. The Town of Tangier is comprised of the 83 acres of habitable land on the island, and boasts a population of only 722. Due to the island’s relative isolation, the challenges related to providing the technical and financial capacity needed to successfully operate a public water and wastewater utility are magnified. As stated in previous updates, SERCAP and the Virginia Section American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Water Reach Committee have been working with Tangier Island over the past several years, to resolve some of the challenges, including: ensuring the functionality of the remote radio-read water meters, the completion of redesigned and reconfigured well vaults, repairs to the incinerator, and a punch list of other necessary tasks.
Most Recently, SERCAP’s staff, along with the Town, have been working towards securing grant funding from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), to complete several upgrades and an overall rehabilitation of the public drinking water system. However, before VDH will approve the funding, the Town’s water meter system must be brought up to 90% operational success. SERCAP’s Facilities Development program is providing a Grant in the amount of $30,000.00 to repair and replace the meters, in order to meet the 90% requirement, set by VDH. Following the successful repair/replacement of the meters, SERCAP will help the Town to submit a grant application to VDH for $250,000, to rehabilitate several corroded distribution system components and four drinking water well vaults. Once the project is complete, the Town will have maximized drinking water resources conservation, reduced energy usage and costs, and increased the long-term sustainability of the system.
Without SERCAP’s Facilities Development Grant Program, and other similar services, many low-income individuals and communities would be forced to go without such necessities as water/wastewater infrastructure solutions, reliable access to clean drinking water, safe and affordable housing, indoor plumbing, other community development and infrastructure needs, and more. It is important to remember that even in the US in the 21st Century; there are those who do not have reliable access to clean, safe drinking water, environmentally sound septic facilities, and affordable housing.
*Funding for SERCAP’s Regional Department is made possible by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Community Services’ (OCS) Grant, USDA RD’s Technitrain Program, the Drinking Water Compliance Grant through the EPA, and the EPA Private Well Grant. SERCAP’s Facilities Development Grant Program is made possible by a Budget Appropriation from the Virginia General Assembly, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD). Additionally, all of SERCAP’s programs in Virginia, are leveraged by the Budget Appropriation from the Virginia General Assembly, administered by DHCD.