Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It's Mosquito Season Again! And This Year We Have Zika

Every year from April 15 to Oct. 31, the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) treats storm inlets for mosquito larvae to reduce the number of mosquitoes and prevent the possible spread of West Nile and the Zika virus.

More than 4,000 storm inlets will be tested for mosquito larvae and treated. Follow @UtilityBuddy on Twitter to see where we've been and where we're going next.

The best defense is to protect yourself from mosquito bites and eliminate their breeding areas.
This means turning over or removing any container in your yard where rainwater collects, such as pots, plant trays, buckets, tires, or toys. Eliminate standing water on flat roofs, boats, tarps, and lawn furniture.

Empty and refresh bird baths once a week and clean roof gutters and downspots where water might pool.

Clear obstructions in ditches and creeks so they can flow and drain. Fill in puddles with soil, sand or gravel. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a teaspoon of standing water and can detect human breathe from 75 feet away. Only the females bite as they need a blood diet to breed.

Wear long, loose, and light colored clothing and use insect repellent products with at least 50 percent DEET for adults and 30 percent for children. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, but the mosquitoes who carry Zika virus bite during the day.

Bug (yellow) lights do not kill mosquitoes, but mosquitoes are less attracted to yellow light. Fans blowing on you while you are in the yard or deck will keep mosquitoes away as they are weak fliers. Citronella candles offer no more protection than any other candle. Bug zapper lights also make little significant difference. Given the choice between a bug zapper light and a human, the mosquito will always head for the human.

And don’t scare away the bats as they can swallow 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes an hour while in flight.

DPU treats all the storm sewers and catch basins within the city with non-toxic sprays which are safe for humans and pets and have been approved for use in storm sewers by the Virginia Department of Health.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Customer Photos!

Customer Janice Carter-Lovejoy says , "I love the natural gas services to my newly constructed house, which includes gas heat, tankless gas water heater, gas stove, and gas dryer. The dryer is MUCH better than my electric dryer was."
Mildred Kopet, 93, a 40-year resident of Patterson Avenue, "still gets a thrill out of recycling because I know it's good for the environment. Keep up the good work, Richmond, and I will do whatever I can to help as long as I can!"

Customer Ivy Randolph has a new massage shower head. "It is amazing after a long day at the office," she wrote.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

High Water Mark Sign Unveiled at Pony Pasture

According to the Federal Emergency Management Management Agency (FEMA), 70 percent of Americans surveyed do not believe their community is at risk of flooding. But Richmond has been hit by 21 hurricanes since 1952, and in June 1972, suffered unprecedented flooding caused by rainfall from Hurricane Agnes.

On June 23, 2016, several agencies joined with the City Department of Public Utilities to dedicate a high water mark sign at Pony Pasture Rapids Park. Signs will follow at Brown’s Island, Plant Zero, and Great Shiplock Park to remind local residents of Richmond’s flood risk. 

This initiative was developed in partnership with the Virginia Silver Jackets, Venture Richmond, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency High Water Mark Initiative and Region III, the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Wakefield, the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Center, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District.

Richmond is the pilot community program for the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

The Silver Jackets Program brings together state, federal, and local agencies to share information and apply resources to reduce flood risk. 

Speaking at the sign unveiling (see video below) were Jonet Prevost-White from the Stormwater division of the city Department of Public Utilities (DPU); Robert Steidel, DPU director; John Buturla, deputy chief administrative officer for Operations; April Cummings, deputy director Mitigation Division, FEMA Region III; Lt. Col. John Drew, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District; and Curtis Brown, deputy secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Commonwealth of Virginia.

Unveiling the signage for the high water mark

The Hurricane Agnes information sign

The actual High Water Mark is above the Call Box part of the sign and shows how deep the water was at the Pony Pasture in June 1972.

Is That Really a Utility Worker at Your Door?

How do you know if the person knocking on your door is really from the Department of Public Utilities?

You may have heard a recent news story about two men knocking on a door at 4 in the morning, claiming they were utility workers investigating a gas leak, but actually they were burglars. They wore neon safety work vests.

But Department of Public Utilities employees only wear work vests or shirts that have the city logo clearly marked on it, usually on the breast pocket and on the back. There would be a vehicle parked outside as well with the city logo on the door. Most city work trucks are white.

City employees also carry identification badges and will introduce themselves by name before saying anything else. If they don't, you can ask to see their city ID first.

An unmarked safety vest alone is no proof that the person at your door is actually a utility worker. And in the event of a gas leak, there would be fire department personnel on the scene as well, and the gas can be turned off at the street, so you do not have to let them in if you have any doubts. Utility workers would not insist on coming inside your home, and if some emergency requires them to do so, city police would also be on hand. Most visits from utility workers are made by appointment, so you know when to expect them.

Vehicle styles may differ, but utility trucks are predominately white and have the city logo on the doors

Shirts may come in a variety of styles and colors, but the Utilities logo is always on the front.

All city employees carry a city photo ID, which should be displayed on their person. If it is not, ask to see it.

Logos are also on the back of some shirts.

Many utility employees will be wearing hard hats with the logo on it.

Even the neon safety vests have the logo on them.

Trae Wynne models a utility worker's typical appearance when making customer calls.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Drinking Water and Wastewater Professionals Appreciation Day is June 30

House Joint Resolution No. 88 designates June 30 as Drinking Water and Wastewater Professionals Appreciation Day in Virginia.

Excerpts from the resolution:

Before the implementation of reliable drinking water and wastewater treatment, thousands of people in the United States died of waterborne diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio, and hepatitis each year. The World Health Organization estimates that unsafe water supplies in developing nations still cause approximately 1.8 million deaths annually.

Technological advances by water and wastewater professionals have improved the treatment of both drinking water and wastewater in the Commonwealth, the United States, and the world. Access to clean drinking water is crucial to the health and safety of more than 8.3 million Virginians.

Treatment of the Commonwealth's average of more than 620 million gallons of wastewater each day plays a critical role in reducing toxic chemicals and nutrient buildup in Virginia's surface waters, such as the Potomac, the James, and the Chesapeake Bay. Much of the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States is located underground in millions of miles of pipes, unseen by the public.

Thousands of water and wastewater industry professionals in the Commonwealth dedicate their careers to keeping drinking water and treated wastewater clean and free of disease-carrying organisms that can harm both humans and the environment. The Virginia Section of the American Water Works Association and the Virginia Water Environment Association, as well as the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and the Virginia Rural Water Association, support the creation of Drinking Water and Wastewater Professionals Appreciation Day.

Wastewater Plant

Water Treatment Plant