Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Keep Household Pipes from Freezing

Set your house faucets to drip just a little to keep water moving through your household pipes and not freeze up. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation.

Turn off the valves to your outside faucets and drain any water in the faucet. Pack insulation around the faucet and then tie a plastic bag over it to hold the insulation in place.

Close all the air vents in the foundation wall of your crawl space under the house. If your pipes freeze, use a hair dryer to thaw them, not a blow torch!

Do you know where your main water cut-off valve is in your house? Find it, mark it, tell all family members how to cut off the water. If a water pipe breaks in your house, you want to be able to turn off the water as quickly as possible.

If you're going out of town during cold weather, turn off the water service to the entire house and drain the pipes so you don't come home to an unpleasant surprise!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DPU's Response to Times-Dispatch Article on Chesapeake Bay

Editorial
 
Before suddenly overriding our state’s proposed new regulations, the EPA should take into consideration the immense time and financial investments that have already taken place to reduce nutrient pollutants, especially for wastewater treatment plants.

Municipal wastewater localities and agencies have proven they are serious about a clean-up effort. From 2005 to 2007, Virginia issued — and the EPA approved — stringent new regulations for water quality protection, which helped to jumpstart our state’s initiatives well before the EPA’s timeline for addressing the issue.

Lets look at the city of Richmond as an example. Right now, it is making changes to its wastewater treatment plant that required more than five years to plan and construct and will take at least two more years to finish. These changes will remove more nitrogen and phosphorus from the James River and are based on a plan the Commonwealth started in 2005.


The money already invested needs to be known. For example, ratepayers in the city of Richmond and county of Goochland have already paid more than $67 million, which includes $51 million in loans from the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, all Virginians contributed to a $45 million grant from the Commonwealth, as well as $16 million in utility bonds. This equals a total project cost of more than $113 million. Citizens are sacrificing to pay to the cost of cleaner water and recognition of hard work to date is deserved.

By rejecting Virginia’s plan, the EPA will cost citizens and businesses about $1 to $2 billion above and beyond Virginia’s already expensive program — while producing no detectable river improvements.

To make significant advancements on the watershed, members of the Virginia Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies (VAMWA) believe a cost-efficient, well-designed plan should be implemented. Looking at the facts, we believe Virginia’s plan should be supported and accepted by the EPA.

Robert C. Steidel, Interim Director
City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stratford Hills Doing Its Part

This may look like a beautiful pond in the country, but it's actually a stormwater retention basin right in the middle of a busy shopping center at the Shoppes at Stratford Hills at the intersection of Forest Hill Avenue and Chippenham Parkway. The basin not only collects stormwater runoff from the surrounding parking lots, but treats and stores it, as well. The basin works by containing the water in the basin, and not allowing it to run into nearby streams, creeks, and other tributaries. Sediment in the water settles to the bottom and the clear water goes to the top.

Retention basins are among the most common stormwater treatment methods used today and are designed to blend into neighborhoods and commercial areas. Photo: DPU Communications


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Help Stop Basin Lid Thefts

The city of Richmond is losing up to $1,000 a day from the theft of metal stormwater inlet basin tops. The thefts are becoming a safety hazard as well.

On Friday, Oct. 1, 16 tops were stolen from Castlewood Road on the Southside. Police were able to recover some of the tops from Smith Iron and Metal Company on Bells Road. A suspect was arrested as a result.

Missing basin tops are continually being reported. This is developing into an expensive problem for the city, with the hardest hit areas on the Southside and Church Hill. On Wednesday, Oct. 6, the Department of Public Utilities received notice of five more missing tops.

If you see a missing basin top, call the Department of Public Utilities at 646-7000, Howard Glenn at 646-1920 or Darryl Rivers at 646-5541 and leave a message with the location of the open basin. If you observe any suspicious activity around a stormwater basin, call the police at 646-5100, or 9-1-1 if the theft is in progress.



Some of the missing basin tops on Castlewood Road

Recovering some of the missing basin lids from a metal salvage.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lead and Copper in Your Pipes - What You Should Know

Although it is unlikely there are sufficient quantities of lead and copper in your drinking water to cause health problems, your home's plumbing could be depositing lead and copper in your water.

When your water has been sitting in your pipes for several hours—for instance in the morning, or when you return from work or a trip away from home—you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. Run the tap until the water becomes noticeably colder.

Flushing tap water is a simple and inexpensive measure you can take to protect your family’s health. It uses less than one or two gallons of water and costs less than 42 cents per month. To conserve water while flushing, fill bottles for drinking water after you flush the tap and refrigerate. Use first-flush water to wash dishes or water plants.

Try not to cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Hot water dissolves lead deposits in pipes faster than cold water. To heat water for cooking, draw it from the cold tap and heat it on the stove.

Lead soldering was banned in 1986.  If your copper pipes were joined illegally with lead solder, notify the plumber who did the work and request it be replaced with lead-free solder. Lead solder looks dull gray, and when scratched with a key, it appears shiny. If your home was built prior to 1986, have a licensed plumber or private home inspector inspect the lines, or have your water tested for lead and copper levels, and be sure to run your cold water tap for 30 seconds before using it for drinking or food preparation, and use hot water only for washing.

Consumer Confidence Reports on water quality are distributed annually to customers by the Richmond Department of Public Utilities and contain information on lead and copper levels.  Email dpuc@richmondgov.com to receive the latest copy.

Voluntary Water Conservation Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does a voluntary water conservation measure mean?
Residents in the City of Richmond and surrounding counties are asked to voluntarily restrict water use. The biggest impact to residents with voluntary restriction is the watering of their lawns which is:
Monday - No watering, Odd property addresses - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
Even property addresses - Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
This watering schedule spreads the water demand over the week so we don’t have to pull as much water at one time out of the James River.

2. Why did the City issue a Voluntary Water Conservation measure?
The City of Richmond operates on a 14 day rolling average and in accordance with the requirements of our permit, whenever levels in the James River get down below 1200 cfs (cubic feet per second) or 3 ½ to 3 ¾ feet depth of water in the James River we must issue a voluntary water conservation measure.

3. What is the current James River level?
Currently our 14-day rolling average is 1,216 cfs. (as of Sept. 15, 2010)

4. What are the stages/trigger levels for announcing conservation measures?
Ready Alert – 1,300 cfs (cubic feet per second)
Voluntary Conservation – 1,200 cfs
Mandatory Conservation – 750 cfs

5. What happens if someone doesn’t comply with the water restrictions?
Depending on individual usage amounts during voluntary or mandatory conservation measures, DPU customers may also see a conservation rate surcharge on their utility bill as a result of DPU’s water conservation rate.

6. When did DPU’s water conservation rate go into effect?
July 1, 2008

7. What does having a water-conservation rate mean to a DPU customer?
During voluntary and mandatory conservation periods, customers who make the decision to use more than 140 percent of their normal winter water usage (water consumed during the months of December, January and February) will pay a higher commodity rate on their excess usage. This is to encourage conservation-friendly behavior.

8. The following is an example of the overage amount that a customer would be charged if they exceed their normal winter water usage during voluntary or mandatory water conservation measures. (Note:  CCf = 100 cubic feet)
Example of Average Winter Monthly Consumption = 8 Ccf
Conservation Charge Threshold (8 Ccf X 140%) = 11 Ccf
Actual monthly consumption during conservation period = 20 Ccf
Consumption subject to conservation rate (20 Ccf – 11 Ccf) = 9 Ccf
In this example, 11 Ccf would be billed at the normal commodity rate and 9 Ccf would be billed at the higher conservation commodity rate (50% premium in voluntary; 100% premium in mandatory)

9. How much longer will the restrictions last?
Voluntary water restrictions, when implemented, typically run at least until October 31.

10. Which localities does this voluntary restriction affect?
It affects Goochland, Hanover, Henrico and the city of Richmond.

11. Do all of the counties and the city of Richmond get water from the same source?
Henrico County and the city of Richmond obtain their water from the James River. The city of Richmond also has Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover Counties as direct customers, and Goochland and Powhatan counties as indirect water customers. Portions of Chesterfield County obtain their water from Lake Chesdin, which is governed by the Appomatox Water Authority.

12. If we don’t get any rain, what is the next step?
Mandatory water restriction is the next step and that would take place if water in the James River falls below 750 cfs.

The chart below outlines the categories included in the Voluntary Water Conservation Measure


Established Landscape, Lawns & Gardens

  • Monday – no watering
  • Odd property addresses water Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
  •  Even property addresses water Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday (Odd/Even designation is determined by last digit of address number)
  • Bucket watering (five gallon max. permitted anytime)

New Landscape, New Lawns, Aeration & Seeding

  • Unrestricted for first 10 days after planting, then limited to the “Established Landscape, Lawns and Gardens” measures

Vegetable Gardens
  •  Limited to any two days per week and between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. on any day. Bucket watering is unrestricted

Paved Areas Washing (Streets, Drives, Patios, Walks, etc.)

  • Limited to two days per week. Unrestricted for immediate health and safety concerns

Vehicle Washing (Commercial Businesses Exempt)

  • Limited to two days per week using a hand-held hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle

Golf Courses (Greens Exempt)


  • Limited to 8 p.m. thru 10 a.m. on any day

Swimming Pools

  • Limited to filling required to maintain health and safety
Fountains (not included in Chesterfield County ordinance)

  • Limited to any two days per week and between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. on any day
Businesses

  • Limited to essential uses

Restaurants

  • No restrictions

All Other Consumption Uses

  • Encourage conservation by any means

Monday, September 13, 2010

Celebrate the Greening of 5th Street Alley

Monday, Sept. 13 was the ribbon cutting and reception for the 5th Street Alley Project, which is located parallel to 4th and 5th streets between E. Main and E. Cary streets downtown. Green alleys reduce stormwater pollution by using porous surfacing (permeable pavers) that allow water to soak through rather than run off.

Green alleys can reduce runoff from common rainstorms by as much as 100 percent, eliminating puddles and local flooding. Snow melts faster on permeable pavement and drains, reducing ice hazards. They also reduce urban heat.

The 5th Street alley was chosen as the pilot project because of the numerous design and construction challenges it presented -- a steep slope, several entrances, cobblestone with asphalt ramps, and underground utilities. If the construction was successful at this location, then other alleys would benefit easily from green technology.

The second alley to undergo resurfacing using green technology will be the 12th Street alley between E. Main and E. Cary and 12th and 13th streets. It's due to be completed by the end of fall 2010.



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Customer Photos - Loving Natural Gas

Nine-month old Amelia Curell, daughter of Ken and Holly Currell, enjoys a warm bath. "We love our gas powered water heater. It makes bath time fun, warm, and endless," reports Holly.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cleaning Catch Basins

One of the main tasks of the new Stormwater Division is to clean the catch basins. Basins get clogged with garbage that either sweeps into the basins during rainstorms or is thrown in by people. Vacuum trucks have to visit each catch basin in the city and vacuum the garbage and debris out to keep the stormwater water from backing up and flowing neighborhood streets.

Just beginning to fill up.


Full of trash (above). Vacuum truck cleaning catch basin (below).




DPU at The Diamond

Department of Public Utilities employees manned a table at The Diamond, Aug. 25, to distribute energy conversation materials, natural gas safety coloring books and crayons. The Diamond was nearly a sell-out that evening due to a fireworks show. Capacity is 9,560 and the Flying Squirrels averaged 6,626 per game this season. The Squirrels lost 4-2 against the Reading Phillies.

Pat Newsome, Mike Kearns and Monica Marlow of DPU distribute materials to attendees at a Flying Squirrels game.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stormwater Credits

Non-residential

The city of Richmond offers non-residential customers the opportunity to apply for up to 50 percent off their stormwater utility bill. Examples of low impact development building techniques that non-residential customers can implement to receive credits include pervious pavers, bioretention drains, and rain gardens.

Residential

The city now offers residential stormwater utility customers the opportunity to receive credits for implementing techniques on their property that reduce the quantity and /or improve the quality of polluted stormwater runoff.

Residential properties may apply for partial credits up to 50 percent starting in December 2010. Credits will be applied retroactively. Some examples of low impact development techniques that residential customers can implement include rain barrels and rain gardens.

For more information about stormwater utility credits, visit our website, email the stormwater utility, or call 644-3000.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Greening Virginia's Capitol

The Department of General Services will be working with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to create a “green corridor” in downtown Richmond and around the State Capitol building. This project will be using $798,988 of a federal grant funding four projects in the Commonwealth that focus on implementing innovative “green” techniques and technologies.

The project will help reduce the amount of polluted storm water runoff that enters the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by about 65 percent.
The project will, in partnership with numerous local, state, federal and non-profit organizations, install a combination of practices that will create a “green” corridor along 9th and 10th Street from Bank to Cary, and at two alleys within blocks of the Square.

In Capitol Square, the terraced brick steps will be replaced with permeable pavers, a rain garden will be installed to collect and filter rain water and prevent erosion, and rain water collected in the storm trap will be reused to irrigate the grounds.

Legislators, state and city government employees, downtown business employees, citizens, and tourists visit Capitol Square on a daily basis. This highly visible project site will provide an educational opportunity for citizens and other visitors to learn about reducing storm water runoff utilizing innovative low impact development techniques such as green streets, permeable pavers, and rain gardens.

For more information and to see maps and a video of the project, visit www.greenvacapitol.org.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Robert Steidel Appointed Interim Director

Department of Public Utilities Deputy Director Robert Steidel has been named interim director while a national search for a permanent director is underway.

Director Chris Beschler, who has been serving as a deputy chief administrative officer of Operations for the city of Richmond, will continue in that position, overseeing the departments of Public Utilities, Public Works, the Richmond Animal Care and Control agency, and the 3-1-1 Call Center.

Steidel has been with the Department of Public Utilities since 2003, overseeing the water, stormwater, and wastewater utilities, directing a staff of 187 and managing a $30 million annual operating budget and $100 million biennial capital budget. Prior to coming to Richmond, he was the environmental manager and assistant director for the City of Hopewell's Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. He's also worked for the Rock River Water Reclamation District in Rockford, Ill., the Winnebago County Department of Public Health in Rockford, and Winona State University in Minnesota.

He is the current president of the Virginia Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies and chairs the National Association of Clean Water Agencies Security and Emergency Preparedness Committee. He is a board member of the James River Basin Association and the Wet Weather Partnership, and treasurer of the Virginia Water Environment Association.

He has a master of public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a bachelor's in biology and chemistry from Winona State University.

Cooking with Gas

Charles demonstrates to his daughter, Isabelle, how to make a grilled cheese sandwich on their gas stove. "We really enjoy cooking with gas," says mom Andrea. (last name withheld by request)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gas Main Renewal in the Northside

Officials from the Department of Public Utilities met with Third District residents at the Police Academy, Wednesday, July 28, 2010 to address concerns about the gas main renewal project in the Brookland Park Boulevard area. Residents had said the contractors failed to inform them of street closings and yard marking. The normal procedure is to notify by doorhangers, with the relevant information posted on the front doors of homes impacted by the work.

The cast iron renewal project is a 40-year project to replace all the city's cast iron gas mains with heavy duty plastic, which is more efficient, durable, safe, and less likely to be damaged by underground water leaks. The city replaces approximately 18 miles of old piping a year and is currently halfway through the 40-year project. Part of the project includes reconnecting homes along the route to the new gas mains, and modifying or moving gas meters that were originally positioned in now inappropriate or unsafe locations.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Richmond's Drinking Water

This water coming into the Water Treatment Plant from the James River becomes the clean, clear water that comes out of your faucet. Settling basins remove large and medium particles. Filtration removes small to minute particles, and aeration and disinfection improves the taste and kills bacteria. Chemicals are added to buffer water and provide dental protection. Did you know many children born and raised on Richmond water have few to no cavities?

For more information on Richmond's great water, visit our web page.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flood Gates


If you have ever wondered what a flood gate looks like, here's the one on Brander Street that blocks off Ancarrow's boat landing area.

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Stove Photo from a Fan

Ron Edwards sent in this photo of his gas stove with the message, "I love cooking with gas!" Share your experiences cooking, heating, or grilling with natural gas and you will be entered to win a quarterly $25 credit on your gas bill.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Utility Buddy Pays a Visit

Utility Buddy visited the Class A Performing Arts Summer Program this week on the Southside to present a program about natural gas safety and water conservation. For more photos, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rvadpu

Monday, June 28, 2010

Unbelievable and Wonderful - Customer Photo

Last summer, Barbara Ennis replaced her 60-year-old boiler with a "super efficient boiler and hot water on demand called Smart H20 heater." She also purchased a new thermostat with auto control, and reports she is saving "lots of money. The difference in how the boiler heats up my radiators is unbelievable and wonderful. The hot water never runs out, ever! I saved about $100 a month last winter already! My clothes dryer is also natural gas."

Share your natural gas savings with us. Send photos here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mosquito Control

This is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week! Mosquitoes are insects belonging to the Diptera order, or True Flies. They have two wings, but their wings are scaled. If a mosquito bites you, it's probably the female since they have a long, piercing and sucking proboscis and need to feed on blood in order to produce eggs. "Mosquito" is a Spanish word for "little fly."

Some mosquitoes spread disease such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in fresh or stagnant water whereever they find it, including cans, barrels, troughs, ornamental ponds, swimming pools, puddles, creeks, ditches, or marshy areas. A raft of mosquito eggs looks like a spec of soot, no more than 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch wide, but it can hold up to 300 eggs. A female mosquito can lay a raft of eggs every three days. The eggs hatch within 48 hours. The larvae live beneath the surface of the water for four to 14 days and shed their skins four times before becoming a pupa. Pupas float on the water for another one to four days. The adult mosquito then bursts out of the pupa case.

The most efficient way to eliminate mosquitoes is to eliminate their breeding sites. Homeowners should dispose of cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that hold water. To not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots or pet dishes.

Clean debris from rain gutters which may be creating pools of water. Check around outside faucets and window air conditioning units to ensure puddles are not collecting underneath.

Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week. Stock ornamental pools with top feeding minnows, known as "mosquito fish," or treat the pool water with a larvicide.

To prevent bites from adult mosquitoes, install bug zapper lights, use skin repellant, and cut down weeds on your property where mosquitoes like to rest.

The city's stormwater division begins spraying storm drains for mosquitos beginning in April each year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gas Range Your Beautiful Blue Flames

Richmond's Great Drinking Water


More than 300 years ago, Richmond's drinking water came from numerous springs and from an open stream flowing from the Capitol area across Main Street. Richmond's Water Treatment Plant was built on the banks of the James River in 1924. Over the years, the plant has been upgraded and enlarged to meet growing demand.

Today, the Department of Public Utilities' water plant can produce up to 132 million gallons per day. Last year, DPU treated an average of 58.9 million gallons per day of water and distributed it to more than 60,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the metro Richmond area. DPU provides water to Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover, Goochland and Powhatan counties.

DPU has invested millions of dollars to ensure it will meet or exceed federal regulations and meet the increasing demands for reliable, high-quality, clean drinking water. Water utility employees perform numerous water tests every day and maintain more than 1,200 miles of water lines so that when you turn on your tap, your family receives clean and safe water.

How does that happen? Water from the James River is brought into the Water Treatment Plant where settling basins remove large and medium particles. Filtration removes small to minute particles. Aeration and disinfection improves the taste and kills bacteria. Chemicals are added to buffer water and provide dental protection. The water then leaves the treatment plant through a distribution system of pipes that carries water into homes.

For a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report on Drinking Water Quality 2009, call 646-5224 or email your address here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Manhole Blockage Fixed

The Department of Public Utilities has fixed the blocked manhole that was causing the problem discovered by WTVR.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Water Plant Earns Award

The Water Plant received the Bronze Performance Award for Optimized Filtration from the Virginia Department of Health and recognition from City Council for water quality, May 24. Accepting the awards were (from left) Jarad Johnston, instrument and control tech II; Derek Evans, plant electrician; Arthur White, chief operations supervisor, who spoke for the group at the presentation; Kevin Coleman, Trafford operator; and Craig Johnson, maintenance technician III.



Saturday, May 22, 2010

WRVA Home Improvement Show

Angela Fountain, public information manager for the Department of Public Utilities, was a guest on Richard McKann's Home Improvement Show, May 22, which airs on WRVA-AM from 10 to noon every Saturday. Listen to the segment. (Video is only screensaver.)


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

New at the Shockoe Basin

The Shockoe Basin is a combined sewer and sanitary water facility on the north side of the James River. Combined sewer flow leaves Shockoe and crosses the James before entering the wastewater treatment plant on the south side of the river.

During dry weather, water flows pass this diversion structure directly to the treatment plant. During wet weather and high flows, some or most of the flow is diverted to this 35-million gallon basin where the flow is equalized on its way to the plant.

During 2009, improvements were made to the crossover chamber, allowing stormwater from Shockoe Bottom to be directed to the river without mixing with the combined sewer flows. This recent modification is for more efficient operation.

During 2010, the basin was cleaned. Because stormwater flow surges are diverted to and held at the basin, sediment collects there. An estimated 70,000 cubic yards of sediment was removed by the summer of 2010.

Diversion structure improvements during 2010 included refurbishing the bar screen rake in the west end of the structure to assist with the removal of debris, leaves and tree limbs from sewer flows.

Posted by Mariane Jorgenson

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Utility Talk, DPU's Social Media win awards

The Department of Public Utilities' quarterly publication, Utility Talk, and its social media communications efforts both won awards of merit from the Virginia Public Relations Society of America. The awards were announced at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond on May 6.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MetroCare Golf Classic 2010

More than 100 golfers participated in this year's MetroCare Classic at Providence Golf Course to raise money for the MetroCare program, which provides heating bill assistance. To view individual photos, visit the Richmond VA Department of Public Utilities page on Facebook.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Utility Talk Wins Award

The Department of Public Utilities' quarterly customer newsletter, Utility Talk, won first prize for full color newsletters from the Virginia Press Women. The award was announced at the organization's annual conference in Roanoke, April 23.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Natural Gas Photo Contest

Here's our first entry for the Fall 2010 Natural Gas Photo Contest. Leslie Lind's toddler enjoys doing the laundry in their natural gas dryer.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Love Natural Gas Photo Contest

We'd like to see photos of you using natural gas products to share with readers of our Utility Talk quarterly newsletter and this blog. Do you cook with natural gas, have a natural gas hot water heater or outdoor grill? Does your clothes dryer use natural gas? Send a digital photo (1-3MB) to dpuc@richmondgov.com. If your photo is printed in Utility Talk, you'll win a $25 credit on your gas bill.

Lucy and Charles Johnson have a natural gas powered generator to take over when the electricity goes out. "It works really well and it's economical to use compared to oil or propane generators," they said. "We also have a natural gas furnace and stove. We are always warm in the winter!" Utility Buddy gives Lucy extra points for the T-shirt of a cat wearing a hula skirt!

Ardelle snuggles up to her natural gas furnance. Utility Buddy awards extra points for the cool looking ear warmers!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Be Prepared for Spring Flooding

After a snowy winter, spring rains can produce additional problems with flooding. Do what you can to help by keeping leaves and trash off the street in front of your house. Don't rake it all into the storm drains.

Friday, February 26, 2010

2009 Pretreatment and Stormwater Awards

The Pretreatment and Stormwater Awards recognize companies that are 100 percent compliant with their Industrial Waste and Pretreatment Permit. This involves operating wastewater equipment in such a way that their wastewater does not cause difficulties for the normal operation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The awards also recognize companies that demonstrate environmental stewardship by instituting additional programs in areas such as recycling, spill prevention, or natural resource protection.

Gold Pretreatment Awards: Afton Chemical Company and TransMontaigne

Silver Pretreatment Awards: Altadis, Inc., Carter Printing Company, Citgo Petroleum, Colonial Plating Shop, Domestic Uniform Rental, Dominion Virginia Power - Bellemeade Station, Duro Bag Manufacturing Company, First Energy Corporation, Packaging Corporation of America, River City Linen, Specialty Finishes, Inc., Total Cleaning Power, Inc., Unifirst Corporation, and Upaco Adhesives, Inc.

Pollution Prevention Award: Unifirst Corp.

Stormwater Awards:

Best Management of a BMP: Commonwealth Commercial

Best Low Impact Design Retrofit: Moseley Architects

Best Stormwater Design of a Public Space: GRTC Transit System Headquarters

Best Small Stormwater Project: Second Presbyterian Church

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

James River Water Goes to Haiti

The Department of Public Utilities donated 6,000 bottles of water to the Southside Church of the Nazarene to send to Haiti.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Utility Talk" Featured at Public Relations Luncheon

"Utility Talk," the Department of Public Utilities' quarterly customer newsletter, won the Best in Show award from the Richmond Public Relations Society in 2009. At the group's January luncheon, DPU Public Information Manager Angela Fountain explained how it is created.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

WWBT 12 on Richmond's Program to Renew Aging Infrastructure

Below is another edit of WWBT's report on the Department of Public Utilities replacing aging gas pipelines in Highland Park neighborhoods. Each year, the city installs 19 miles of new piping.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Is Richmond water hard or soft?

Richmond's water hardness is slightly hard.

Hard water requires more soap and synthetic detergents for home laundry and washing and contributes to scaling in boilers and industrial equipment. Hardness is caused by compounds of calcium and magnesium, and by a variety of other metals.

Water is an excellent solvent and readily dissolves minerals it comes in contact with. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water "hard."

The water produced by the city of Richmond is considered "slightly hard" to "moderately hard." Hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs.

But hard water makes it more difficult to wash your hair. Each hair shaft is made up of little scales, like roof shingles, and hard water makes the scales stand up. Your hair feels rough and tangly afterward, so you use a cream rinse to soften it. Since rainwater is soft, mineral-free water, try collecting it for a different hair-washing experience and then compare. How is it different? Can you notice?
Posted by Mariane Jorgenson