Thursday, November 20, 2014

T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge Project

The city has been working with the state to clear woody vegetation near the Brown’s Island Dam. This work needs to be done before work begins on the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (TTPMB). In order to get to the dam, the contractor will need to prepare an access road.

Work began Nov. 18. In order to get to the dam, and to construct the access road, a fair amount of clearance will be required. This clearance would have occurred anyway for the TTPMB. 

This is good news for those who have waited so long for the TTMPB to start…and shows real progress on the implementation of the Riverfront Plan.

•Brown’s Island Dam (BID) is regulated by the Dept. of Conservation and Resources, State of Virginia as a Low Hazard (Special Criteria) dam and therefore all woody vegetation within 25’ of the structure is to be removed. Reference: Impounding Structures Regulations, 4VAC 50-20-10 et seq., including 4VAC 50-20-105, Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.

•The dam inspection report by DPU’s consultants Dewberry Consultants, LLC, 12/27/13 recommends the removal of woody vegetation and debris in the south section of the dam and along various piers.

•Requests for removal schedules by PDR were followed by DPU’s request to Greeley & Hansen to investigate the possible plan through DPU’s annual contracts.

•G&H contacted DPU’s annual sewer contractor G. L. Howard to work with PDR and DPU on a cost and scope of work to access the BID for removal of the trees within the 25’ of the dam which would clear the way for the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge Project (TTPMB).

•Once an on-site meeting was held with PDR, DPU, G&H and G L Howard, Greeley and Hansen was to compile a drawing from the Dam Walk project set. This would show the following; land disturbance, E&S measures, tree removal areas, route, etc.

•G&H compiled the draft drawing that shows a tree removal plan that will benefit both the in the TTPMB project and meet the Low Head Dam requirements. It included a construction entrance that can be used by the successful BIDW contractor from day one to access the lower Southside site.  It also includes the erosion and sediment controls required for the small amount of earth (460 sq ft) that will be disturbed at the construction entrance. All trees are proposed to be chipped to the ground with no land disturbed. Safety fence adjacent to N-S tracks is shown as precaution/boundary. DPU and PDR reviewed this plan.

•PDR worked with the TTPMB consultants, Hargreaves Associates, to reach approval of the proposed tree removal routes and actions by G L Howard with comments that would require removal of the wood chips from the sites for future construction access. This would increase the cost and an agreement to spread the chips with future removal was reached.

•Work will begin with all permits in hand after November 18, 2014 and weather-permitting be finished by the end of the month. Work on the TTPMB will begin in earnest by the end of the year.

The Brown's Island Dam that the Potterfield Memorial Bridge cross is classified as a low hazard dam by the State of Virginia. The state dam safety office thus requires the City of Richmond, the owner of the structure, to maintain a 25-ft clear zone free from woody vegetation around the dam. Clearing this vegetation is a state-mandated part of dam maintenance and Department of Public Utilities contractors will be completing it to fulfill State of Virginia dam safety requirements over the next month.

This required maintenance activity will also help support the construction of the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge and paths. DPU contractors will be clearing the same pathway that the Potterfield Memorial Bridge will take in order to access the Brown's Island Dam and move machinery for the dam maintenance activity while limiting impact on the area. The clearing of vegetation in this area will help prepare the area where the elevated pathway for the Potterfield Memorial Bridge will be constructed over the next year. 

The Potterfield Memorial Bridge project has several important sustainability features, including: avoiding all impact to designated wetlands and the floodway, capturing run-off on site in bioswales, and improving water quality of run-off. Over 1,000 native ferns, shrubs, and trees will be planted as part of the project.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why is my water cloudy and smelly?

Two of the most common calls our Water Plant water quality technicians receive is cloudy water complaints  and hot water that has a bad taste or smell.
Neither issue is one the city can correct. Cloudy water is caused by dissolved gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, or hydrogen sulfide and the water looks cloudy only momentarily. The milky coloring is just air and the water clears when allowed to sit for a minute or two.

Water that has not been used for a period of time may have a taste and odor from sitting stagnant in the pipes. Run your tap for a few minutes when returning home if you’ve been away for more than 24 hours.

If the chlorine in water is unpleasant to you, place your drinking water in an uncovered glass container in the refrigerator at least overnight. This allows for the chlorine to dissipate at a faster pace. A container with a large opening works better. Another option is to boil tap water for five minutes, then allow it to cool. Then you won’t taste the chlorine.
The water from your water heater has all these gases and is under pressure, so when it comes out of the faucet, it might have a cloudy or milky appearance. It starts clearing up from the bottom to the top. It’s simply the tiny air bubbles rising. This is perfectly normal and it may happen more often at different times of the year. You don’t need to call the Department of Public Utilities unless the water hasn’t cleared up at all after five minutes.
Bad tasting or smelly hot water usually means the customer has an issue with their hot water heater that needs to be addressed. Most of the time, it’s sediment in the tank. Hot water heaters need to be flushed periodically to minimize tastes and odors. Follow all manufacturing recommendations outlined in your owner’s manual for properly maintaining your hot water heater.
It’s actually easy to do yourself.

For electric hot water heaters, shut off the power from the circuit breaker. If you use gas, shut the valve providing the gas supply. Next, turn off the cold water supply to the thank. It will be a valve near the bottom of the water tank. If you are not sure, feel the piping to see if it feels cool.

Near the bottom of the water heater is a drain valve. It may look like a small faucet or a round dial attached to a hose. If it’s a hose attachment, attach a garden hose tightly to it and put the other end of the hose out a window or in a sink or basement drain. If you have a faucet valve, you’ll need to drain it into buckets. You’ll need at least two, one to empty while the other is filling.

When the tank is empty, DO NOT turn the power or gas back on yet. That would be very bad and do great damage to your unit. Turn the water back on and fill up the water heater first. After it is full, then you can turn the power or gas back on. It will take awhile before the water gets hot again.

For more information, search YouTube for videos on how to drain hot water heaters.

Councilman Visits the Water Plant

The Water Plant hosted a visit from Councilman Jon Baliles, Nov. 5.

Cleaned, treated water is almost ready to leave the plant and be sent to people's homes and businesses.

These massive pumps will send the water to various reservoirs and water towers around the city.

Water is constantly tested before it leaves the plant.

Each faucet represents a different water basin.

Friday, November 14, 2014

With River Levels Falling, Richmond is on "Ready Alert"

The City of Richmond, along with the surrounding counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and the eastern portion of Goochland are alerting water customers that voluntary water conservation measures may be implemented within the next few days. 

The James River requires higher water levels in November to coincide with the normal start of the fall fish migratory season. A “Ready Alert” notification means that water levels have decreased to 1,800 cfs (cubic feet per second), and are now being watched closely. It also means that voluntary conservation measures are probable. Voluntary conservation measures are undertaken when the James River reaches 1,700 cfs. As of Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, the current 14-day average for the natural river flow level is 1,824 cfs. If voluntary conservation measures are implemented, they will be in effect through December.

When water conservation measures are implemented, voluntary compliance decreases demand on our water supply and meets requirements of the James River Regional Flow Management Plan. If significant rainfall occurs, voluntary water conservation measures may be avoided.

Residents are reminded to take the following steps to make the most efficient use of watering year-round, especially during voluntary restrictions:

·   Do not use water hoses to clean off your street, driveway, or sidewalk.
·   Do not leave the water running while  brushing your teeth or washing your face and hands.
·   Take shorter showers. Decreasing your shower time by two minutes can save several gallons of water.
·   Install a rain barrel. Rain water harvesting is a great way to keep your plants hydrated.
·   Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until they’re full.
·   Choose efficient fixtures. Aerate your faucets. Install low-flow shower heads.
·   When washing your car, take your car to a commercial car wash that recycles water, rather than 
   washing at home with the hose.

Additional information can be found at:         
Virginia Department of Health - ODW Web site,       
Department of Environmental Quality –    
Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries -

If a customer does not comply with mandatory water restrictions, the customer may see a "conservation rate surcharge" on their utility bill. This went into effect in July 2008. During mandatory conservation periods, customers who use more than 140 percent of their normal winter water usage (December-February), will pay a higher commodity rate on their excess usage. This is intended to encourage water conservation.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Leaf Collection Season Begins

The Department of Public Works has released the 2014-15 leaf collection schedule, which is always subject to change if snow falls and the leaf collection trucks are needed to do snow removal duty.

The current schedule is

  • Maymont, Byrd Park, Oregon Hill, Carillon, Nov. 10-14
  • Broad Rock, Brookbury, Nov. 10-21
  • Worthington Farms, Nov. 17-21
  • Westover Hills, Forest Hill, Woodland Heights, Nov. 17-28
  • Windsor Farms, University of Richmond surrounding neighborhoods, Far West End, Nov. 17-28
  • Bellemeade, Nov. 24-28
  • Newtown, Carver, Jackson Ward, Nov. 24-28
  • Northside, Highland Park, Nov. 24-Dec. 5
  • The Fan, Shaffer Street, Dec. 1-6
  • Westover Gardens, Dec. 1-12
  • Museum District, Dec. 8-12
  • Church Hill, Fulton - Dec. 8-19
  • Stratford Hills, Willow Oaks, Dec. 8-19
  • Bellevue, Ginter Park, Washington Park, Dec. 22-Jan. 2
  • Stony Point, Dec. 22-Jan. 2
Rake leaves to the property line adjacent to your street prior to your scheduled collection date. NEVER rake the leaves and debris into the street. Dirt, rocks, metal or branches should be removed from leaf piles. If they are visible or detected during the vacuum process, your pile will be passed by.

Residents who bag their leaves should use biodegradable brown paper lawn or leaf bags as they can be recycled with the leaves. City crews will pick up 25 bags of leaves year round on regular trash collection days. There is no limit to how many bags you can put out during your designated vacuum collection days.

You can also dispose of leaves by taking them to the East Richmond Road Convenience Center, 3800 East Richmond Road, the Maury Street landfill at 2900 Maury Street, or the Powerline at 8600 Huguenot Road, at the northwest corner of Chippenham Parkway.

Updates to the schedule will be posted at as winter progresses, or you can call the leaf hotline at 646-5323.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wastewater Plant Audit Scheduled for Nov. 17-19

The Wastewater Treatment Facility in Richmond, Virginia has implemented a biosolids Management Program (BMP) as specified by the National Biosolids Partnership. A BMP is a modern management approach to develop, implement, and monitor environmentally sustainable practices. A BMP helps a utility be more efficient, responsive, and protective of the environment, beyond regulatory compliance.

A successful biosolids BMP depends on input from interested parties and external oversight from independent auditors. The auditors verify that the utility is effectively managing their environmental and community health impacts. The Wastewater Treatment Facility is preparing to undergo an independent audit on Nov. 17-19, 2014.

Interested parties can contact Wastewater at (804) 646-8435 email Utility Buddy to provide input on or to observe the audit process. You can also request specific information and/or receive biosolids EMS program correspondence.