Friday, December 2, 2016

Storm Drain Art Contest Wins Award

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities has received the 2017 National Environmental Achievement Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.The award will be formally presented at their winter conference in February.

The RVAH20 Storm Drain Art Contest was entered in the Public Information and Education:E-Media category. 

The project goal was to obtain a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit by 2018, making Richmond one of the first cities in the U.S. to do so.

DPU is mandated to reach 20 percent of Richmond residents with a stormwater/water quality message: address pollution, how the public is related to area waterways, and how individual actions impact overall water health.

So Richmond DPU developed the first annual Storm Drain Art Project, "It All Drains to the James." Richmond-area artists would apply to paint a storm drain design that conveyed how important it is to keep our river – and our drinking water – clean.

The goal was to educate the public that pollutants that go into storm drains impact Richmond waterways – the very places that are so beloved for community swimming, fishing and water sports.  It’s why all five of the storm drains selected for this project carry stormwater directly into the James River – and into our water supply.

When the artists were selected and the art work completed, fans voted for a favorite design online. The artist with the most votes received the RVA Choice Award, along with special recognition.

Stroll down Tredegar Street and see for yourself how art can help communicate that what goes into these drains flows directly into the James.

Fan Favorite

Friday, November 18, 2016

City Enters Bond Market in Public Utility Revenue and Refunding Bonds

The City of Richmond successfully sold $502 million in Public Utility Revenue and Refunding Bonds of which $169 million was for new money projects and $333 million was to refund existing debt service for interest rate savings.

The cost of funds for the City’s New Money Projects was approximately 3.47 percent, which is near the lowest cost of funds in several decades. In addition, the City took advantage of the historic low interest rate environment to refund two outstanding bond issues, which will result in the City reducing its existing debt service by roughly $100 million over the next 24 years.

The Bonds were highly rated by all three national credit rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch (Aa2, AA, AA respectively).

Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Raymond James and Siebert Cisneros Shank served as underwriters on the financing. Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Raymond James have offices in Richmond. Siebert Cisneros Shank is based out of New York and is the nation’s largest minority owned bond underwriting firm.

David Rose, senior vice president and manager of Public Finance at Davenport & Company LLC, the City’s financial advisor, said “As best we can determine, the level of debt service savings is unprecedented for a Virginia local government.”

The City’s director of Public Utilities, Bob Steidel, said, “The City’s utility system has experienced consistent credit rating upgrades over the past several years. As a result, the level of savings has been augmented because our credit worthiness has increased.”

Monday, November 7, 2016

Customer Photos

Carol Buckingham of Woodland Heights draws down water from one of her two rain barrels. Installing a rain barrel makes you eligible for a credit on your stormwater fee. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Citizens Academy 2016 Graduation

Click once on first photo to open slide show. Graduate names are on the certificates!

Citizens Academy Stormwater Tour

Click once on first photo to open slide show
Jonet Prevost-White of the Stormwater Division

Rain garden at Bellemeade School

Stream restoration near Bellemeade School

Fendall Avenue Green Alley Project Oct. 17-Dec. 9

The Department of Public Utilities' Fendall Avenue Green Alley project involves retrofitting the existing alley surface connecting Fendall Avenue with Culpepper Street between Fendall and Garland, utilitizing low impact development -- also known as green technologies. The low impact practices to be used in this alley include a pervious concrete block system and an underground infiltration trench that will provide stormwater runoff treatment and storage.

This project was funded by the City of Richmond Stormwater Utility and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. 

Residents of the odd numbered block of 3500 Fendall should put their trash cans on the streetfront side of their house on their scheduled Monday collection day so the trash collection truck can access the can. The normal trash pick-up location will resume when the project is completed, approximately Dec. 9.

Those who normally park in this alley should find an alternate parking space during construction. To be successful, the alley should not be used during construction. Signs will be posted to alert residents that the alley is closed to parking. Parking along the street is suggested. If you do park in the alley during this project, you may find it difficult to leave because of crews and equipment.

In progress, end of October


Work in Progress


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MetroCare Water Assistance Program

If you are having trouble paying your water utility bill, you might be eligible to receive financial assistance toward arrears up to $500. The MetroCare Water Assistance Program offers a discount to customers who meet qualifying criteria. Whether you have delinquent water bills, are at risk of being disconnected, or struggle with paying on time, you are encouraged to apply. The program is available for Richmond Public Utilities customers.

To be eligible, you must meet the following:

  • The water account is in your name
  • You reside at the address provided on the utility bill
  • You have not received assistance during the current program year (July to June)
  • Your water bill balance has not been charged off to collections
  • Your total gross household income is at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level

How to apply

If you meet the requirements above, contact your nearest intake agency to schedule an appointment. Complete a Water Assistance Program Application and take it along with the following required documentation to your appointment.
  • Valid proof of identification
  • Social Security card
  • Most recent DPU water utility bill
  • Verification of income or unemployment for all adults in the household
  • Rental or mortgage agreement with proof of payment
  • Documentation to support size of household
Intake agencies are:
  • Capital Area Partnership Uplifting People (CAPUP), 1021 Oliver Hill Way, 788-0050
  • The Salvation Army, 2 W. Grace Street, 225-7470
  • Richmond Department of Social Services (for existing clients only) at 900 E. Marshall St., 4100 Hull Street Road, or the East District Initiative.
Customers receiving assistance are subject to all provisions of applicable city ordinances. If you need more information, contact one of the partnering intake agencies.

Citizens Academy Visits the Water Treatment Plant

Click once on first photo to open slide show
Chemistry Lab

Richmond's water supply comes from the James River

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Customer Photos!

Customer Brooke Ullman loves her gas stove, especially when the power goes out like it did in the Bellevue neighborhood for four days in May 2016. "I was still able to make my morning coffee and grilled cheese lunches."

Customer Jackie Deane uses gas for cooking, hot water, and heat, and also uses the "can the grease" lid  given away by DPU last year. "After cooking, I can the grease, place the can in the freezer, then put it out on trash day! Of course, I save the top to reuse again and again! It's so easy!"

DPU Wins National Gold Award for Exceptional Water Utility Performance

City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) was one of 20 public drinking water
AMWA President Scott Potter and DPU Director Bob Steidel
systems recognized by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) for its utility management.

DPU received AMWA’s Gold Award for Exceptional Water Utility Performance, Oct. 17.

“These awards spotlight the impressive advances and substantial achievements of public drinking water utilities that are leading the nation in their efforts toward sustainability through innovative management practices, executive leadership and employee engagement,” said AMWA President Scott Potter. "Communities count on their drinking water systems for reliable and adequate supplies of clean, safe water, and those served by AMWA’s 2016 award winners can take pride in their outstanding accomplishments.”

AMWA’s Gold Awards recognize outstanding achievement in implementing the nationally recognized Attributes of Effective Utility Management, which include product quality, customer satisfaction, employee and leadership development, operational optimization, financial viability, infrastructure stability, operational resiliency, community sustainability, water resource adequacy, and stakeholder understanding and support. These Attributes were developed by a blue ribbon committee of water industry executives at the request of the U.S. EPA, AMWA, and other water organizations.

DPU is one of the largest water producers in Virginia, operating a modern water treatment plant that can treat up to 132 million gallons of water a day from the James River. Its treatment plant and distribution system consists of approximately 987 miles of mains, nine pumping stations, one reservoir, and 10 ground and/or elevated water storage tanks providing water to approximately 63,000 customers in the City.

DPU also has wholesale contracts to the surrounding counties, resulting in a facility that provides water for approximately 500,000 people in the greater Richmond region. In addition to supplying water to customers, the water utility provides water for fire protection throughout the City and maintains fire hydrant water valves and water mains as well as provides routine and emergency services.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Citizens Academy Tour of the Wastewater Plant

Click once on first photo to open slide show
Tour begins.

Ultraviolet lights

The ultraviolet lights are actually green.

Computer monitoring of all systems.

Now that the wastewater has been cleaned, is it ready to return to the river?

Looks clear!