Thursday, August 2, 2018

Haxall Canal Draining Aug. 4-10, 2018

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is planning to drain the Haxall Canal in its entirety Saturday, Aug. 4 through Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 to perform an aerial survey of the canal interior.

The Haxall Canal, which starts from the head gates near the west end of Brown's Island and extends to the 12th Street level control structure has accumulated large quantities of sediment from the James River and has reached levels that undermine the functionality of the level control structure and head gates, in addition to the aesthetic features the canal provides to the City. 

Sediment in the canal before the last dredging
In order to better assess the quantity of sediment requiring removal from the canal, DPU will perform a survey of the canal interior. An aerial survey is the most cost effective and expedient method to obtain the necessary data and requires the water to be drained from the canal in its entirety. Once DPU has compiled this data, it is anticipated a construction contract will be issued to dredge the canal interior, which is expected to take place this coming fall 2018. The dredging operation would require the canal be drained in its entirety for approximately 2-3 months.

The Haxall Canal was previously drained and dredged of sediment in 2008. The City is expected to perform this required maintenance every 10-15 years. In addition to routine dredging maintenance, the Canal is periodically drawn down to lower levels for routine maintenance most often associated with cleaning trash and debris that undermine the functionality of the head gates and level control structure.

DPU staff have worked closely with Venture Richmond to establish the dates necessary for the current drawdown of the canal and will continue to do so in the future. In addition, Game and Inland Fishery staff have been notified of the canal draining and will be on standby to possibly assist with fish trapped in the canal when drained. Unfortunately this is not a finite process and a small number of fish could be killed, odors from stagnant water may be present, and there will be unpleasant aesthetics as a result of an empty canal bed. Public communication is planned and there are no traffic impacts expected at this time.

For more information regarding this project, please contact Angela Fountain, DPU/DPW Public Information Manager at 804-646-7323 or Howard Glenn, DPU Operations Manager at 804-646-1920.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Emergency Sanitary Sewer Work to Close/Detour Portion of Va Capital Trail (Rocketts Landing)

Emergency sanitary sewer work is taking place in Rocketts Landing. Beginning Monday, July 30 a portion of the Virginia Capital Trail will be closed due to the ongoing emergency work. Pedestrians and cyclists will still have access through detours as noted below. The emergency work is expected to last up to three weeks.

Recreational users heading northwest detour:

Walking
  • Both cyclists and pedestrians would take a right from Capital Trail onto Old Delaware/ Stancraft Way
  • Make left onto Old Main st (Through Rocketts Landing development) to Orleans St.
  • Turn left from Orleans St  (Pedestrians can return to the Capital Trail by the passageway/ stairway between Conch Republic and the Boathouse Resturant)

Cyclists
  • Both cyclists and pedestrians would take a right from Capital Trail onto Old Delaware/ Stancraft Way
  • Make left  onto Old Main St (through Rocketts Landing development) to Orleans St.
  • Turn left from Orleans St  
  • Turn right onto Old Main St at Conch Republic and Boathouse Restaurant, and continue to Route 5
  • Follow Route 5 West- to U of R  canoe business (4400 E Main St)
  • Cyclists can turn left into the driveway to return to Capital Trail

Recreational users heading southeast detour:

Walking
  • Pedestrians would a make left at the Conch Republic stairway to Orleans St and Old Main St.
  • Turn right from Orleans St to Old Main St (continuing through the Rocketts Landing development )
  • Turn right from Old Main St. onto Old Delaware and returning to Capital Trail.

Bicycle Riders
  • Both cyclists and pedestrians would take a left from Captial Trail onto U of R canoe business (4400 E Main St) proceeding thru parking area to Route 5
  • Make Right onto Route 5 -East to Old Main St (Boathouse Restaurant).
  • Turn left from Old Main St onto Orleans St  
  • From Orleans St turn right onto Old Main St proceeding through the Rocketts Landing development
  • Turn right from Old Main St. onto Old Delaware and returning to Capital Trail



Monday, June 25, 2018

Utility Rate Changes Go Into Effect

Utility rate changes passed by Richmond City Council on May 14, 2018 go into effect with the first utility bills customers receive in July 2018. Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Director Calvin Farr stated, “DPU is committed to keeping rates as equitable as possible. We review utility rates on a regular basis and these changes are a result of our Cost of Service Studies completed earlier this year.”

DPU has made structural changes in some utility rates and is introducing a “Life Line” rate for our single family, residential water customers. The typical single family residential utility customer who uses 4 Ccf of water or less, will actually see a decrease in their utility bill of $2.09. Here is a breakdown of the utility rates for natural gas, water, wastewater and stormwater rates, as approved:

NATURAL GAS
 3.25 percent increase in the fixed distribution and customer charges for all natural gas customer classes. The average residential customer will pay approximately $1.68 more per month for these fixed costs. The purchased gas cost (PGC) is not included in this proposal as it is passed on dollar for dollar to the customer, without any mark up.

WATER 
DPU’s LifeLine water rate is designed to put more control in the hands of the water customer. While the monthly service charge for the average single family residential water customer remains unchanged, the volumetric charge (how much used) will be split into two pricing tiers. All single family residential customers will see a reduction in cost for their first four hundred cubic feet (4 Ccfs) of water used. An average residential customer who uses 4 Ccf of water a month will see a $3.70 decrease in their water bill. This encourages conservation behavior while providing for basic water needs.

WASTEWATER 
The proposed wastewater rate maintains equity among all customer classes. The average single family residential wastewater customer will see no change to their existing monthly service charge. The volumetric charge (how much used) for each customer class also will not change.

STORMWATER
Stormwater utility rates are based on the amount of impervious area (surfaces that cannot absorb water or that water cannot pass through) within a property. Roofs, walkways, gravel or asphalt driveways and decks are all categorized as impervious areas. Single family residents pay a flat stormwater fee based on the amount of impervious area that a property contains. The tier structure for single family residential properties has changed to better distinguish the size of each property’s impervious area and improve equity among tiers. The current three rate tiers for single family residential properties have been reallocated into five rate tiers based on increments of 1,000 square foot (MSF) of impervious property. Properties with less than 2,000 square feet of impervious area, will see no change to their stormwater fee.

Additional tiers were created to allow a more equitable distribution of stormwater costs to all residential properties based on the amount of impervious area that each property contains. See the size and fees associated with single family residential tiers below:
  • Tier 1 (1000 or less sq. ft. of impervious area) remain at $2.14/month
  • Tier 2 (1,001 - 2,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) remain at $3.94 per month
  • Tier 3 (2,001 – 3,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) will pay $6.41/per month
  • Tier 4 (3,001 – 4,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) will pay $9.14/per month
  • Tier 5 (4,001 sq. ft. or more of impervious area) will pay $13.25/per month
To assist customers with managing their utility bill, the Department of Public Utilities offer the following programs year-round. Customers are encouraged to seek assistance before bills become unmanageable:
  • Equal Monthly Payment Program (EMPP) - Richmond Gas Works, in conjunction with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), offers this program which spreads payments evenly over 12 months, along with other convenient payment plans. The EMPP works well because the customer's average natural gas charge is used to calculate an equal payment amount that spreads the cost over the entire year and allows customer to develop a monthly energy budget. Call the DPU and Richmond Gas Works’ Customer Care Center at (804) 646-4646 for more information.
  • MetroCare Heat Program - This heating bill payment assistance program provides funds to eligible families and individuals who are having trouble paying their primary heating bills due to a financial difficulty or other special hardship. The application period coincides with the heating season and applications are accepted beginning Dec. 15 through April 30 each year. Residents within Richmond Gas Works' service territory may apply for funds through MetroCare. For more information, call (804) 646-4646
  • MetroCare Water Program – This water bill payment assistance program provides funds to eligible families and individuals who are having difficulty paying their primary water bills due to financial concerns. There is an application process and ratepayers can receive up to $500 per applicant if approved. For more information, call (804) 646-4646.
  • SeniorCare Program – This program caters to the unique needs of seniors 65 years of age and older in the Richmond metropolitan community. Senior customers can sign up for this program and take advantage of Winter Service Assurance, no late fees, security deposit waiver program, annual weatherization kit giveaways and third party notification. For more information, call (804) 646-4646.
DPU’s new E-Z Pay system also makes it easier and more convenient for customers to pay their utility bill online. For more information logon to: www.RichmondGov.com/PublicUtilities/PayMyBill/index.aspx