Schenks Branch Interceptor

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The Schenks Branch Interceptor is a terra cotta [1] pipeline 21 inches in diameter owned by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority that carries wastewater through the Schhenks Branch Basin. The RWSA is in the midst of replacing the pipe with a 30 inch ductile iron pipe. [2].

As part of a consent decree, The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality had ordered the RWSA and the City of Charlottesville to submit a plan for how it will be upgraded.


The construction currently underway is the first phase of a replacement of the Schenks Branch Interceptor, a sewer line operated and maintained by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. As of July 13, 2016, contractor Digs Inc. had installed 743 linear feet as well as three manholes. Unfortunately, some time this spring they hit rock. However, the project hit several delays.

"The presence of unsuitable material at the Rt. 250 Interchange connection point, rock within the excavation, adverse weather conditions over the winter months, and general difficulties with deep sewer installation has slowed progress," wrote chief engineer Jennifer Whitaker in an update to the RWSA Board of Directors.

The contractor has begun using a rock saw and other heavier equipment to remove the rock. They now anticipate the first phase will be completed in December 2016 - seven months behind schedule.

The second phase will travel between the recycling facility south towards the Albemarle County Office Building. That project cannot begin until the city and county can agree on how to proceed. Either the county will grant an easement on their property, or the city will allow the pipe to be installed under McIntire Road. There has been no resolution of this as of August 4, 2016. [3]


  1. Web. RWSA Easement for Schenk’s Branch Interceptor, Lauren Hildebrand, City of Charlottesville, retrieved September 1, 2011.
  2. Frederick, Thomas L. STATUS REPORT: ON-GOING PROJECTS. Rep. Vol. April 27, 2010. Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. Web. 27 Apr. 2010. <>.
  3. Web. STATUS REPORT: ONGOING PROJECTS, Jennifer Whitaker, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, July 26, 2016, July 26, 2016, retrieved August 4, 2016.