Friday, July 31, 2015

Open High School Students Build Rain Barrels for Bellemeade

Rich Marino, Chris Pond, and Jerry Hancock installed a rain barrel for Mr. Smith. The rain barrels were painted by Open High School students.

Chris Pond, Rich Marino and Jerry Hancock installed a rain barrel for Ms. Klyvert (second from right)

Jerry Hancock and Rich Marino install a rain barrel

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Water Filling Stations Available for Events

During the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, 10 mobile water-filling stations provided by the City’s Department of Public Utilities in the spectator zones made it easy and free to refill water bottles and reduce the number of plastic bottles used.
This wasn't the first time the water-filling stations were available to the public. Six fountains were on the premises at the Redskins training camp in August and up to four fountains at the Carytown Watermelon Festival in 2015. They were unveiled at Chimborazo Park on Earth Day in April 2015.

Water filling station at the Redskins training camp
During the Earth Day event, Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued a progress report on the City’s RVAgreen sustainability plan, "Moving Sustainability Forward." The progress report tracks headway in achieving the 55 sustainability initiatives established in the plan such as green jobs, healthy food access, community energy use, recycling, open space access, housing cost burden, and alternative modes of transportation. It sets goals to reduce government and community greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, equal to a 1.8 percent reduction every year.

The City of Richmond and collaborators are planning to enhance sustainability for future events. In addition to the mobile water filling stations and Green Team of volunteers, improvements include recycling and composting stations; and a green event toolkit to provide free information and resources to help organizers make their events more sustainable.

RVAgreen is the City’s sustainability program and is managed by Alicia Zatcoff. Zatcoff founded and developed the city’s sustainability and energy management program in 2010, focusing on improving the economic and environmental performance of city government. The RVAgreen Sustainability Plan, released in 2012, furthers the City’s sustainability goals: to improve the quality of life for residents, create a healthy environment and enhance economic opportunity in the city of Richmond. 

For more information about RVAgreen including a copy of the RVAgreen Progress Report visit

Watch Alicia Zatcoff’s TEDxRVAWomen talk on “Nurturing Nature." 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Natural Gas is the Environmentally Friendly Fuel

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel and can actually improve the quality of air and water when used in place of other, more polluting energy sources.
There is an abundant supply of natural gas in the U.S. In fact, 96 percent of natural gas comes from North America. There is always an ample supply for all household and commercial needs.
Natural gas combustion produces virtually no emissions of sulfur dioxide and far lower emissions of carbon monoxide, reactive hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.
Natural gas is more environmentally attractive than other fossil fuels because it is composed chiefly of methane, producing combustion products of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Coal and industrial fuel oil combustion produce a higher ratio of carbon as well as sulfur and nitrogen compounds which do not burn as cleanly. Also, ash particles are produced which can be carried into the atmosphere.
Acid rain and CO/ozone pollution are of primary environmental concern. By using natural gas as the energy of choice, emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide are substantially reduced, thus alleviating acid rain and ozone pollution levels.
Automotive gasoline use contributes about three-fourths of all carbon monoxide pollution in urban areas as well as most of the hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide pollution levels. Use of natural gas-fueled vehicles could reduce carbon monoxide levels by as much as 90 percent and hydrocarbon emissions by as much as 85 percent. America's energy of choice could make a substantial impact on improving America's water and air.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ask Utility Buddy

Have a question about public utilities -- water, wastewater, stormwater, streetlights, pretreatment, natural gas -- unrelated to your billing or account? Then call Ask Utility Buddy at 646-5224 during normal business hours.

Some of the brochures and material we can send you includes

Grease can lids
Water leak detection kits

Brochures on

  • natural gas safety
  • best management practices for restaurant grease
  • water quality
  • the MetroCare program
  • illicit discharge elimination
  • stormwater
  • senior care program
  • calling 811 before you dig
Activity books for children
Water conservation and gas safety bookmarks
811 notebooks

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Update on the Floodwall Walk

Residents have noticed that when you enter the floodwall walk trail at 14th Street, there are no signs indicating the trail is closed at the far end. We are working to reinstall that sign.

Due to additional construction plans, construction on the Manchester Bridge has been extended to mid-October, and there will be additional work in the area on the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge that will disturb ground at the levee crossover under the Manchester Bridge. We do not have a date for the start of that project yet.

Water Plant Wins Award

The Gold award from the Virginia Department of Health is for a perfect score.
The same day the Water Plant received this award, the Department of Public Utilities learned more contracts from surrounding counties had come in for water. The city will soon be providing 193 million gallons of water a day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Action Plan Should Begin in 2018

The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Action Plan was developed by the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) as required by the 2013-2018 General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4). The draft outlines how the department intends to reduce pollution to the James River, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, and can be found here.

DPU plans to achieve the required 5 percent reduction in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment as called for in the permit.

DPU is currently designing five stream restorations – Pocosham Creek, Goode’s Creek, Albro Creek, Rattlesnake Creek, and Reedy Creek. These projects will restore a portion of the city’s tributaries to the James River, reduce stormwater runoff and restore valuable biological habitat.

DPU will continue to seek ways to protect our natural environment, reduce nuisance flooding, and maintain our existing infrastructure to comply with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL requirements.

Reedy Creek is approximately 3,075 acres of urban and suburban land in the southwestern part of the city. The project will restore approximately 2,200 linear feet of the creek and the downstream portion of an unnamed tributary. The land is owned by the city and administered by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

Rattlesnake Creek is a tributary of the James River draining around 1,000 acres of mostly suburban land in the northwestern corner of the city and south side of the James. The proposed stream restoration will address 1,500 linear feet of the creek between E. Weyburn Road and Chippenham Parkway.

The Albro Creek project will restore approximately 1,281 linear feet of stream and create three acres of wetlands to restore and improve the water quality of Albro Creek, also known as Bellemeade Creek.

The Pocosham Creek stream restoration is located on a tributary of Pocoshock Creek that flows into Falling Creek. This tributary drains approximately 3,625 acres of mostly suburban and forest land in the southwestern side of the city, west of the James River. A six-foot wide trail will be constructed as part of the restoration project.

The Maury Cemetery Stream restoration project is located within the city’s Maury Cemetery and will restore approximately 1,980 linear feet of stream channel. The project is bounded by Maury Street, N. Hopkins Road, a CSX railroad track and the Maury Cemetery. This work will improve the overall function of the stream, preventing erosion, restoring habitat, and improving water quality.

Each project is currently in the design or planning process. Projects should be in construction by June 2018. In addition to stream restoration projects, the city is currently implementing or planning citywide street sweeping and green alleys.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Shelter Dog Gets a Job with the City

Dual dog kennel at the Water Plant.
Bulletin! Duck Dynasty was adopted late in July. The new dog at the Water Plant is Valerie.

His name is Duck Dynasty, aka D2, and Richmond Animal Care and Control rescued him from a life on the streets about two months ago. After a month in the city's animal shelter at 1600 Chamberlayne Avenue, Duck D, a neutered, male, three or four-year-old
hound mix who gets along well with other dogs, got an important assignment.

He would be the first dog to live in the new dual kennel at the city's Water Plant on the river, and his job would be to discourage the ducks and geese from loitering around the 37-acre plant, leaving a trail of guano in their wake. In exchange, he is learning about socializing with a variety of people and hanging out quietly in offices when he's not in his kennel. "He's out of the pen more often than not," says Ricky Hatfield, plant superintendent.

The program was funded by the Richmond Animal Welfare Foundation. After Duck D is adopted into his forever home, other dogs will have the opportunity to live at the Water Plant. Water Plant staff, who are at the plant seven days a week, 24 hours a day, take Duck D with them on their security patrols day and night, or bring him into the offices on hot or rainy days.

Is that a deer? A duck? A beaver?

DPU Director Bob Steidel, Water Plant Program Manager Arnold Eberly, Utility Plant Superintendent Ricky Hatfield, and Richmond Animal Care and Control Director Christie Peters welcome Duck Dynasty to the Water Plant as a "city employee."

On patrol with Arnold Eberly, who recently adopted two dogs from Richmond Animal Care and Control. Duck Dynasty is available for adoption. For more information about adopting Duck D or one of many other deserving animals, or to foster or volunteer, visit here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Do You Live in a Flood Prone Area? Then Good News!

The City of Richmond is now participating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS).

What is CRS?
CRS is a voluntary program sponsored by the National Flood Insurance Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It promotes and encourages community floodplain management activities that go above and beyond what is required.
How will this impact me?
For each specific activity the City of Richmond does to educate and reach out to citizens about the floodplain, flood prone areas, how to protect property or flood insurance, we earn points and receive a class level. For each class level we achieve, flood insurance policy holders receive a 5 percent discount. There are 10 class levels, 10 being the lowest with no discount. When the program begins this October, the City of Richmond’s flood insurance policy holders will receive a Class 8 10 percent discount on their policies. Who doesn’t love a discount!

Where can I find out more information?The best information can be found at Contact the Water Resources Division for the City of Richmond at 804-646-7586 to find out more about your property. An interactive FEMA floodplain map can be found on the city’s website at Check frequently for more information as it becomes available.