Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cold Weather Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

Cold weather tips for your plumbing:

Open up the cabinet doors under your sinks to let the warm air from the house keep your pipes warm.

If any of your plumbing pipes run through unheated areas of your home, let the faucet drip until temperatures are above freezing again.

If you turn on the faucet and no water comes out, or it comes out very slowly, call a plumber right away. Turn off your water at the main shut off valve. Your pipes are frozen!

Never thaw out frozen pipes with an open flame. You will burn your house down or damage the pipe. Use a hand-held hair dryer instead, but not if there’s standing water on the floor! (If there’s standing water, thaw out frozen pipes with hot towels, not anything electric.) Direct the air from the dryer toward the faucet and work your way to the end of the pipe.

If you leave home for an extended period during the winter, don’t turn your heat off unless you have bled all the pipes first. Do that by turning off the water at the main and then running all the faucets until they run dry. If you are away for a short time, don’t turn your heat off or too low. You may come home to frozen pipes!

Wrap water pipes in insulation or lawyers of newspaper, tied on with plastic bags.

Remove, drain and put away your outdoor hoses. If they are out in the yard with water in them, they are going to burst.


If you lower your thermostat at night, don’t do it when the weather is below freezing. Keep those water pipes warm!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

State of DPU!


In 2013, the Department of Public Utilities:
  • Replaced one of the three pumps at the Church Hill pumping station and all three variable speed drives to increase the capacity of the station
  • Installed new storage and feed systems for aqua ammonia and zinc orthophosphate at the Water Treatment Plant
  • Installed a slurry wall along a portion of the Water Treatment Plant berm to improve structural and watertight integrity
  • Improved stormwater drainage and isolation gates at the Byrd Park Reservoir
  • Replaced the chlorine disinfection system with a new and safer ultraviolet light disinfection system and made improvements to the Wastewater Plant's main electrical distribution system
  • Made improvements to the aeration process equipment at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, replaced the nine return activated sludge pumps and three waste activated sludge pumps, installed a new bioaugmentation system and a new system for removal of scum from the final sediment tanks
  • Completely renovated the Shockoe Sanitary Pump Station to include four new pumps, new variable speed drives, new electrical transformers and motor control centers, and a new control system
  • Installed 145 streetlights, including major projects: Second Street connector, Great Shiplock Park, Fan District lighting, Midlothian corridor, Inlight 2013 event, and the green alley at Laurel and Shafer streets.
  • Began a five-year program for better team communication and engagement with our customers
  • Chesapeake Bay compliance, outstanding removal of polluting nutrients in 2013; nitrogen limit 36 percent better than DEQ permitted; phosphorus limit 24 percent better.
  • Received a $45M  grant from state to continue control of pollution from combined sewer overflows
  • Received a $1,670,839 grant from state to continue control of pollution from stormwater
  • Water treatment and distribution was 100 percent compliant with all safe drinking water laws
  • All DPU operations became safer for the public and first responders by eliminating use of all hazardous gas chemicals in all water treatment processes
  • Streetlight utility repair and emergency response was outstanding
  • Natural gas utility reliability and stable cost to customers was outstanding
  • Compress natural gas as a vehicle fuel increased in 2013 with GRTC buses, RIC shuttle buses, and planning for DPU fleet conversions
  • Cost of service study for the natural gas, water and wastewater utilities completed and best practice rate changes approved by City Council