Thursday, September 24, 2009

Going Green Means Saving on Gas

The SunTrust Center building at 919 E. Main Street went green, replacing its boilers with a tankless hot water and heating system. The system will reduce natural gas consumption by 30 percent, paying for itself in less than six years.

This combination system heats water on demand and heats the air at the same time.

To aid with stormwater management, the building also has an 11,000-square-foot green roof to reduce runoff and improve insulation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take Precautions Around Gas Meters

As the owner or occupant of a building supplied with natural gas, you have a responsibility to ensure the gas meter, regulator and associated piping are protected from damage. You are responsible for the maintenance of any piping from the gas meter to your gas appliances.

Take care around gas piping when using your lawn mower, brush cutter or digging in garden beds.

Do not scratch or damage the protective coating on the meter and piping.

Do not hang things from the gas piping.

Do not chain a pet, bicycle, gas grill or anything else to the gas meter or piping.

Do not anchor laundry lines or plant supports to the gas meter or piping.

Maintain a safe clearance between your gas, charcoal or propane grill and the gas meter.

Maintain a 2-foot clearance to allow access to the meter and meter shut-off valve. Maintain at least a 3-foot clearance around commercial meters.

Do not disconnect, move or disturb the gas meter.

Do not change or alter the service connection in any manner.

Call Miss Utility at 811 at least three full business days before digging in your yard. This will allow time for the utility lines buried in the area to be marked. The call and markout service are free.

Questions? Call 646-8300.

Posted by Mariane Jorgenson

What do those colors mean?

You may have seen little flags in the ground, or painted markings on the ground and wondered what they mean. They mark underground utilities. Here's a guide:

RED - Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables.
YELLOW. (Yellow )- Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
ORANGE - Communications, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduits.
BLUE - Potable water.
PURPLE - Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines.
GREEN - Sewer and drain lines.
PINK - Temporary survey markings.
WHITE - Proposed excavation.

Green markings on a storm drain also mean it has been treated for mosquitoes.

From the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Division of Utility and Railroad Safety, July 2007

Friday, September 18, 2009

What Are Stormwater Infrastructures?

Q. Can you tell me if the underground infrastructure to handle stormwater runoff and the underground sewer infrastructure are the same? Can you elaborate on some of the physical differences in these two infrastructures?
-- Trent from Park Avenue

A. The City of Richmond has three types of sewer systems that comprise our infrastructure. They are:

Stormwater-only sewer mains (pictured)
Combination (both sanitary and stormwater) sewer mains
Sanitary-only sewer mains

The stormwater-only system flow is not treated at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Stormwater sewer mains empty at locations throughout the city into creeks and the river. The combined and sanitary-only systems flow to the treatment plant where the wastewater is treated.

While some of the stormwater that runs over land enters a storm sewer system or a combined sewer system through curb inlets, drain grates, etc., some stormwater runoff obviously enters bodies of water such as lakes, creeks, and the river.

Price of Gas to Go Down 11 Percent in October

The City of Richmond is lowering the price of natural gas, effective on the October utility bills.

The average residential customer who uses 70 Ccf (a Ccf is 100 cubic feet of natural gas) per month will pay approximately $91.75 compared to the current bill of $102.95, an 11 percent reduction in the total gas bill.

The City passes along the cost of the natural gas it purchases to its customers, dollar for dollar, without markup. DPU analysts periodically review and adjust rates based on market and weather conditions.

DPU offers information and programs year-round to encourage customers to better manage their utility bills and seek assistance before bills become unmanageable. DPU also encourages customers to consider enrolling in the Equal Monthly Payment Plan (EMPP) in order to avoid large seasonal fluctuations in their monthly bill. More information about EMPP and other programs is available by calling 644-3000 or visit DPU's website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Tubercle- Free Fan: Mission Accomplished!

Do you know what tubercles are and what they do to your water supply?

Tubercles form inside water mains as a result of corrosion. They consist of layers of rust, building up over time to form lumps and mounds inside the pipe. Tubercles can severely reduce the full flow of water through a pipe. If your water pressure is low or your water is cloudy, it could be caused by tubercles.

In 1983, the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities created a rehabilitation program for the city’s water pipe system. This Cleaning and Lining Program was designed to improve water quality at a lower cost than replacing existing water mains by drilling out and relining existing water mains with cement mortar.

Neighborhoods targeted for cleaning were the ones that had a high frequency of water pressure complaints, aging pipelines, cloudy water, and a history of water main breaks.

Cleaning and lining was done from spring to fall, so neighborhoods as large as the Fan took four to five years to complete, one section at a time. The project was completed in 2014.