Marshall needs more water to prevent ‘public health emergency’ | News

A public health emergency is “imminent” in Marshall if steps aren’t taken to secure additional water, according to a member of the Fauquier Water and Sanitation Authority.

Michael J. Focazio made that warning during a joint meeting Thursday afternoon of the Fauquier Board of Supervisors and the WSA.

Focazio is the Marshall District representative on the WSA. Professionally, he works for the U.S. Geological Survey as a hydrology program coordinator.

Focazio said the emergency was “not a question of if, it’s a question when.”

It will happen “if we do nothing,” he said. “We needed water yesterday.”

The Marshall water situation is WSA’s top priority in its capital improvement projects plan, said Scott District representative William G. Downey

The WSA had to close two wells because of contamination from radium – a naturally occurring substance in the ground – and trichloroethylene or TCE – a solvent used in dry cleaning and degreasing operations.

“We’re doing a lot of treatment at well sites,” said WSA Chairman Ray Graham in speaking about maintenance procedures generally. “There’s a balance – do you find another well or treat what you have?”

While treating the water in the contaminated wells is a long range plan of the WSA to bring them back to health, acquiring private wells online for public use is another option being pursued.

Supervisors Chairman Rick Gerhardt asked the WSA “do you see any other Marshalls?”

Focazio said that “I can see we have plenty of water. We’re still very limited in using those aquifers,” referring to saturated zones beneath the water table.

Mary Leigh McDaniel, Marshall District supervisor, urged both boards to be “forward thinking.” She noted that “we’re looking for Marshall to be an economic engine” and work needs to be done to help that…

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