The City of Chesapeake produces approximately 15 million gallons per day for about 65,000 accounts. This is accomplished with the help of two treatment plants - the Northwest River and Lake Gaston treatment plants - and contracts to purchase treated water from the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth. Additional water is available from an auxiliary well source that is used during peak demands.
Learn more about the City's water plants and sources.
Water Quality Reports
To meet or surpass standards set by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Public Utilities Department conducts hundreds of thousands of analyses throughout the treatment process. The analyses are performed annually for treatment of drinking water. Water quality sampling in approximately 400 homes and businesses around the city tells the story of how well we are doing.
At the two plants, operators also test the water many times a day to make sure the processes are working optimally. In addition, certified water quality laboratory personnel run many types of tests on the process water and the water from customers' homes and businesses.
The technicians use high-tech instruments like atomic absorption and gas chromatography, as well as wet chemistry to conduct Trihalomethane (THM) Analyses, which determines the amount of chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform in the City's water.
Routine flushing also helps maintain the water quality in the distribution system. Citizens in affected areas are given advanced notice of scheduled flushing whenever possible. This operation has a possibility of causing discoloration to your water. This is considered normal, non-harmful, and should clear within a few hours. If it does not, report the issue.
Water from toilets, showers, washing machines, sinks, etc. flows from the houses and buildings into the underground sanitary sewer system.
This collection system (over 1,000 miles of pipe) allows wastewater to be carried to the pump stations (over 270 stations) nearby. From there it is pumped further along to eventually reach a Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) pipe.
As a preventive measure, Public Utilities checks the sanitary sewer system through the process of Smoke Testing. The process is implemented to identify sources of potential complications. Citizens receive a notification of Smoke Testing (PDF) on their door at least three days before the process begins.
The Chesapeake Public Utilities Department operates much like a separate business within the City government to provide drinking water and wastewater collection services. The technical term is an "Enterprise Fund."
This means the department operates the water and sewer collection utilities and generates its own revenue from user fees, not taxes. Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), a regional authority, provides the City's sewage treatment services.
Chesapeake Public Utilities and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District participate in a joint billing service called the Hampton Roads Utility Billing Service. The residential bill covers two months of water use and sewer collection by the City, and two months of sewer treatment by HRSD. Most commercial accounts are billed monthly.