A large portion of the community of Fairlawn was constructed, likely in the early 1940s, in order to provide housing for the workers for the Radford Army Ammunition Plant. These dwellings were provided sewer service by installing septic systems which served the community well into the early 1960s. Subsequent failure of these systems coupled to the fact that most dwellings were situated in a high density cluster allowed sewage to appear on the ground surface. This was a health hazard that led the community of Fairlawn to proceed with the establishment of the Sewer Authority.
The Fairlawn Sewer Authority was created by the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors on December 21, 1965. The initial Sewer Authority membership was C.E. Flynn, E.C. Grigsby, D.S. Loar, W. Weddle and W.K. Newcomb. Their initial terms were for a period of three years. The records from the public hearing to establish this Authority does not include any opposition to its creation.
On August 19, 1965 an engineering report was completed which recommended the installation of a sewerage system in the Community of Fairlawn; the original project provided for the installation of 54,165 feet of sewer line, 500 connections and construction of sewage lagoon for treatment prior to discharge to the New River. The cost of this project was $499,330. There appears to have been some limitation on funding at that time that did not allow the project to exceed $500,000.
The anticipated monthly cost to a customer in 1965 was to be $6.17. The Consumer Price Index has increased seven times the amount it was in 1965 to today. That would mean that today’s monthly fee should be $43.19. To the benefit of the lower rate is the result of good decisions and vision by the previous members of the Board.
When the Authority was established the charter created it for a 20 year period. In 1988 the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors approved the change in charter to extend it for 50 years. That extension extends the Authority life until 2038.
Since the initial construction there have been six significant expansions of the system. The first was the Estes Subdivision in 1980, next the Brooklyn Area in 1980, Timberlane Subdivision in 1987, Rt. 11 West in 1988, the Flower Shop extension in 1990 and the Deerwood Subdivision which was installed by the developer in the 90s. Coupled to this are the on-going sewer line maintenance projects with the most significant being the sewer line replacement project along the Rt. 11 corridor.
The Rt. 11 replacement project became necessary as development had jeopardized the reliability of the sewage system. In some cases there were buildings constructed over top of the sewer line making access almost impossible. The original line had demonstrated failure in several locations resulting in a plugged sewer system. The failure of this system would have significant economic impact to the businesses in the Fairlawn area. Consequently, a decision was made to fund a complete sewer line replacement project that was begun in the second half of 2014.
Concurrent with the expansion and maintenance projects was becoming a member of the Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority in 1986. This enabled the lagoon that was being maintained by the Sewer Authority to be closed. Treatment was then provided solely by the Pepper’s Ferry Authority with a discharge to the New River.
What results is a system that has a total line length of nearly 82,000 feet and that the customer base has expanded by 64% to be in excess of 850 customers. When you consider the length of the lines alone, they would stretch from the Fairlawn community to a point just past the downtown area of Pulaski.
There are many players in the work of the Sewer Authority. The community leaders of Fairlawn that pursued the establishment of the Authority, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors for creation of the Authority, the past who have directed the work of the Authority, Mr. Lester Maupin who was the superintendent of the system from its’ beginning until June, 2010, Ms Judy Haines and William of Fairlawn Bookkeeping and Tax who have served as bookkeeper and office for collection of fees, the Town of Pulaski and the City of Radford who have provided equipment in support of system maintenance, Pulaski County Public Service Authority for performing desired maintenance on the infrastructure, Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority, New River Valley Regional District Commission and the customers of the Authority.
The purpose of this Authority is to provide a necessary service to our customers on a 24 hour per day seven days per week basis. This is to be accomplished while being ever mindful that the Board is to do so in a fair and expeditious manner while being good stewards of the fees collected.