Monday, June 27, 2016

Customer Photos!

Customer Janice Carter-Lovejoy says , "I love the natural gas services to my newly constructed house, which includes gas heat, tankless gas water heater, gas stove, and gas dryer. The dryer is MUCH better than my electric dryer was."
Mildred Kopet, 93, a 40-year resident of Patterson Avenue, "still gets a thrill out of recycling because I know it's good for the environment. Keep up the good work, Richmond, and I will do whatever I can to help as long as I can!"

Customer Ivy Randolph has a new massage shower head. "It is amazing after a long day at the office," she wrote.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

High Water Mark Sign Unveiled at Pony Pasture

According to the Federal Emergency Management Management Agency (FEMA), 70 percent of Americans surveyed do not believe their community is at risk of flooding. But Richmond has been hit by 21 hurricanes since 1952, and in June 1972, suffered unprecedented flooding caused by rainfall from Hurricane Agnes.

On June 23, 2016, several agencies joined with the City Department of Public Utilities to dedicate a high water mark sign at Pony Pasture Rapids Park. Signs will follow at Brown’s Island, Plant Zero, and Great Shiplock Park to remind local residents of Richmond’s flood risk. 

This initiative was developed in partnership with the Virginia Silver Jackets, Venture Richmond, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency High Water Mark Initiative and Region III, the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Wakefield, the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Center, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District.

Richmond is the pilot community program for the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

The Silver Jackets Program brings together state, federal, and local agencies to share information and apply resources to reduce flood risk. 

Speaking at the sign unveiling (see video below) were Jonet Prevost-White from the Stormwater division of the city Department of Public Utilities (DPU); Robert Steidel, DPU director; John Buturla, deputy chief administrative officer for Operations; April Cummings, deputy director Mitigation Division, FEMA Region III; Lt. Col. John Drew, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District; and Curtis Brown, deputy secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Commonwealth of Virginia.

Unveiling the signage for the high water mark

The Hurricane Agnes information sign

The actual High Water Mark is above the Call Box part of the sign and shows how deep the water was at the Pony Pasture in June 1972.

Is That Really a Utility Worker at Your Door?

How do you know if the person knocking on your door is really from the Department of Public Utilities?

You may have heard a recent news story about two men knocking on a door at 4 in the morning, claiming they were utility workers investigating a gas leak, but actually they were burglars. They wore neon safety work vests.

But Department of Public Utilities employees only wear work vests or shirts that have the city logo clearly marked on it, usually on the breast pocket and on the back. There would be a vehicle parked outside as well with the city logo on the door. Most city work trucks are white.

City employees also carry identification badges and will introduce themselves by name before saying anything else. If they don't, you can ask to see their city ID first.

An unmarked safety vest alone is no proof that the person at your door is actually a utility worker. And in the event of a gas leak, there would be fire department personnel on the scene as well, and the gas can be turned off at the street, so you do not have to let them in if you have any doubts. Utility workers would not insist on coming inside your home, and if some emergency requires them to do so, city police would also be on hand. Most visits from utility workers are made by appointment, so you know when to expect them.

Vehicle styles may differ, but utility trucks are predominately white and have the city logo on the doors

Shirts may come in a variety of styles and colors, but the Utilities logo is always on the front.

All city employees carry a city photo ID, which should be displayed on their person. If it is not, ask to see it.

Logos are also on the back of some shirts.

Many utility employees will be wearing hard hats with the logo on it.

Even the neon safety vests have the logo on them.

Trae Wynne models a utility worker's typical appearance when making customer calls.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Drinking Water and Wastewater Professionals Appreciation Day is June 30

House Joint Resolution No. 88 designates June 30 as Drinking Water and Wastewater Professionals Appreciation Day in Virginia.

Excerpts from the resolution:

Before the implementation of reliable drinking water and wastewater treatment, thousands of people in the United States died of waterborne diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio, and hepatitis each year. The World Health Organization estimates that unsafe water supplies in developing nations still cause approximately 1.8 million deaths annually.

Technological advances by water and wastewater professionals have improved the treatment of both drinking water and wastewater in the Commonwealth, the United States, and the world. Access to clean drinking water is crucial to the health and safety of more than 8.3 million Virginians.

Treatment of the Commonwealth's average of more than 620 million gallons of wastewater each day plays a critical role in reducing toxic chemicals and nutrient buildup in Virginia's surface waters, such as the Potomac, the James, and the Chesapeake Bay. Much of the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States is located underground in millions of miles of pipes, unseen by the public.

Thousands of water and wastewater industry professionals in the Commonwealth dedicate their careers to keeping drinking water and treated wastewater clean and free of disease-carrying organisms that can harm both humans and the environment. The Virginia Section of the American Water Works Association and the Virginia Water Environment Association, as well as the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and the Virginia Rural Water Association, support the creation of Drinking Water and Wastewater Professionals Appreciation Day.

Wastewater Plant

Water Treatment Plant

Friday, June 10, 2016

CNG Road Rally stops in Richmond

The CNG Road Rally "From Sea to Shining Sea" (you can follow it on Twitter at hashtag #seatoshiningsea and @CNG-Sea2ShiningSea), traveled from Long Beach, Calif., to Washington, D.C., from May 10 to June 10, 2016, entirely in vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

The CNG fueling station on Maury Street was the 12th stop of the rally, sponsored by the American Public Gas Association and NGVAmerica. The rally's mission is to promote the benefits of natural gas vehicles and demonstrate availability of filling stations across the country.

The three cars in the rally traveled 3,144 miles. The City of Richmond has 110 CNG vehicles in operation, including refuse trucks. GRTC is updating its bus fleet to natural gas and the shuttle buses at Richmond International Airport run on natural gas. 

St. Catherine's School received the Innovation and Leadership Award for converting their bus fleet to natural gas and setting up their own on-site fueling station. The city's Energy Services Manager Mike Kearns participated in the rally and shared some of his experiences going cross country with Pat Riley, the general manager of Gibson County Tennessee Utility District. Other speakers included City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities Director Bob Steidel, Richmond Interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Operations John Buturla, Mike Bisogno, director of the Office of Fleet Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Nick D'Andrea, vice president for Government Relations at UPS, and Gary Parker, business development manager for Clean Energy Fuels.

DCAO John Buturla with staff from St. Catherine's School and their natural gas bus.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Contain(er) Your Butts

Did you know that cigarette butts are the number one most littered item? Cigarette butts dropped carelessly on sidewalks or thrown from vehicles are carried by rain water into storm drains, streams and ultimately into the James River.

Ninety-five percent of cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a plastic material that disintegrate slowly. These filters are harmful to animals and marine life, as they are often mistaken for food and cause digestive blockages or other harmful effects.
Cigarettes also litter beaches and require expensive clean-up procedures. (Many beaches now have smoke-free beach laws to help reduce butts.)

Smokers should think twice before stomping out cigarettes on the ground or throwing them out of the car window. Be more accountable to Mother Nature and dispose of your butts in a proper waste receptacle at all times.