Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Probe into water lead levels gets approval

By John Crane

Published: April 21, 2009

CHATHAM — The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night asking federal and state environmental agencies to investigate elevated lead levels in residential water wells in the county.

The resolution, proposed by Chatham-Blairs Supervisor Hank Davis, passed the board after supervisors modified it during their regular meeting. Before discussion began on the motion, Davis asked the board to remove a graph in the resolution referring to core drilling by Virginia Uranium Inc. at Coles Hill.

Davis said the purpose of the resolution, which would direct the board to ask the U.S. Environmen-tal Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Health to look into the lead levels at Coles Hill, is not to accuse anyone of the unsafe lead levels but to provide relief for residents.

However, Tunstall Supervisor Tim Barber introduced a substitute motion to request an investigation of residential lead levels in wells in all parts of the county, not just at Coles Hill. Dan River Supervisor James Snead agreed with Barber’s idea.

“I want to be fair to all of the citizens,” Snead said.

Banister Supervisor William Pritchett said the investigation should include the whole county.

The board unanimously approved Barber’s substitute motion.

VUI seeks to mine and mill a 119-million pound uranium-ore deposit at Coles Hill, six miles northeast of Chatham. Virginia currently has a moratorium on uranium mining, but the Virginia Coal & Energy Commission is overseeing a study to determine whether uranium can be mined and milled safely in the commonwealth.

In another matter, the board unanimously approved a zoning change to allow construction of a 552-unit apartment complex on Virginia 1519/Sweetgum Road in the Westover District. The

development, proposed by North American Properties Coleman Marketplace LLC, would be built in two phases, with 132 units in the first phase and the remaining 420 apartments in the second. Supervisors OK’d the zoning request, with a proffer added that calls for a traffic-impact analysis.

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