Development and the availability, quality and cost of utility services can be guided by local government. Generally, development should occur where these services can be provided at least cost or where they can be installed and function without additional costs or failure in the future.


Electric Power

Highland County receives its electrical power from both Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative and BARC Electric Cooperative. Currently, there is one 69 kV transmission line in the county, as well as one 69-12.5 kV substation. The line owned by Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative enters Highland at the West Virginia border, paralleling Route 250. The substation is located just north of Monterey (refer to

Map 37).


In general, the western half of the County is served by Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative and the eastern half by BARC Electric Cooperative. Generally, 7.2/12.5 kV lines are sufficient to handle light industry or large commercial or recreational facilities. For this reason, areas delineated by power providers in Map 9 offer little limitation to light industry or commercial/recreational development, in terms of available electric power.


Currently, three-phase electrical service can be provided in the area surrounding Monterey, along the corridor of U.S. Route 220 south to Route 84, and along Route 84 to the community of Mill Gap. It can also be provided along the corridor of U.S. Route 250 east of Monterey to the community of McDowell.


Single-phase and three-phase service can be extended from any existing single phase or three-phase facility.


The cost of extending service depends on the following:

·        the amount of electricity desired.

·        the length of time that electricity will be needed.

·        the length of new line required.

·        the terrain that the new line will cover.


Wind Turbines

A commercial wind turbine farm, the first in Virginia, has been approved for construction on Alleghany Mountain on the western border of the county.  The project will feed to the existing 69 kV transmission line operated by Allegheny Power.



Highland Telephone Cooperative provides land-based telephone service to the west side of the County, including Monterey and Blue Grass Magisterial Districts.


MGW Telephone provides service to McDowell and the Stonewall Magisterial District.


Cell phone service is available in parts of the county.


Both the Highland Telephone Cooperative and MGW Telephone provide Digital Subscriber Line broadband service. Internet access is also available throughout the county via dial-up services.


Water Supply


Town of Monterey Water System

The Town of Monterey draws its water from three wells.


The wells can produce up to 250,000 gallons of high-quality water per day. Two storage tanks hold up to 300,000 gallons of water respectively. Residential water meters indicate the average daily usage is 70,000 gallons of water per day.

The most recent upgrades to the system are:

·        The entire water system is equipped with a state-of-the-art warning system. Critical elements in the system such as the wells and the storage tanks are electronically monitored 24 hours a day. If a problem exists, the town office and the town employee are notified by phone.

·        The storage tanks have been completely refurbished inside and out.

·        The Town of Monterey has fencing around the wells required by the Department of Homeland Security.


McDowell Water System

The McDowell Water System, operated by the Highland County Board of Supervisors, currently serves 71 customers in the Village of McDowell and the surrounding area.


Water is gravity-fed from three wells through approximately 4.5 miles of local distribution line.


The system is connected to one storage tank which holds 96,000 gallons of water for the village. Records indicate that McDowell water users consume, on average, nearly 12,000 gallons per day.


Since the village of McDowell is designated as a potential growth area in this plan, some extension of the McDowell water system may occur in the future.


Other Water Systems

Residents in the remainder of the county receive their water primarily from a variety of private wells and springs.  


Because the 220 corridor between Monterey and Vanderpool is a potential growth area (particularly for industry), public water may need to be made available in this area in the future.


Wastewater disposal

Town of Monterey Wastewater System

The Town of Monterey operates one wastewater treatment facility. Wastewater is carried to the plant via three-and-one-half miles of gravity sewer lines, ranging in size from four to eight inches in diameter. There are approximately 65 manholes in the system.


On an average, the system treats 44,000-66,000 gallons of wastewater per day. With the construction of a proposed wastewater plant, the town will have the capacity to treat up to 120,000 gallons per day. The system currently serves the following 271 customers:

·        219 both water and sewer.

·        8 with sewer only.

·        44 with water only.


The Town of Monterey has a rehabilitation program underway for the wastewater disposal system here. New lines have been installed in part of the town. The Town’s new wastewater treatment facility is online.


Other extensions may occur at the Town’s periphery, as any growth is likely to grow outward from the Town’s center. It is important that potential growth go hand-in-hand with planned utility extensions. Extensions made to the existing system will also depend heavily on the new customers’ willingness to pay connection fees.


Town of Monterey Water and Sewer Fees:

The Town of Monterey bills customers every two months for water and sewer usage.


Other County Wastewater

Wastewater in the remainder of the county is disposed of primarily via septic systems. Since the efficacy of a septic system can be dependent upon the absorption capacity of

the soil, as well as slope, parts of the County are not conducive to traditional septic systems.

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