Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I get water and sewer service put in my name?
To start service please complete the online water and sewer service application. It must be submitted with a copy of each applicant's driver's license. Supporting ownership or lease documents may be required. If you are uncertain about what documents are needed, inquire at 757-382-6352 and speak to one of our Customer Service representatives.
- How can I get water turned on when I cannot be home?
After you have completed your request for water service you can complete a Release Form (PDF) to request water be turned on without someone present. Please ensure all faucets are in the “OFF” position before you return your request. This form can be emailed to our Customer Service division or faxed to 757-382-8546.
- Where can I pay my utility bill and what methods of payment do you accept?
Chesapeake Public Utilities and Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) issue a joint bill named the Hampton Roads Utility Billing System, or HRUBS. 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.
You can make your payment by using any of the following options:
- Pay Online via Credit Card or Bank Account at HRSD.com
There is no fee for this service
- Pay by phone at 844-257-6063 with a credit or debit card
There is no fee for this service
- Pay in person at the City Hall Public Utilities Department office on the 2nd floor
Cash, check and money order only. No credit card processing available at the Public Utilities office in City Hall
- Pay in person at any of the City Treasurer's offices
Treasurer's offices will accept check and money order only for utility bills
- Mail your payment using the envelope enclosed with your bill
- Drop your payment off at the 24 hour drop box in the City Hall 2-hour visitor parking lot
The most convenient method of payment is with AutoPay. AutoPay automatically deducts the amount of your bill from your bank account. To begin this service, or to learn more about it, call 757-460-2491. Please check the HRSD website for the availability of AutoPay.
- Pay Online via Credit Card or Bank Account at HRSD.com
- Is there a way for me to access my account information anytime of day or night?
Yes, your account balance, the date of your last bill and the date and amount of your last payment are available by phone 24 hours a day. Dial 757-460-2491 and follow the instructions. Enter your 10-digit HRUBS account number located on your bill when requested.
- How is water use or consumption measured?
For most customers, water use is measured in hundred cubic feet (CCF). One CCF equals 748 gallons, which is also called one consumption. For some customers, water use is measured in 100 gallons and converted to CCF. Please review your statement to confirm your unit of measurement.
- How much do I pay for water (effective 1/1/22)?
The cost is $47.56 for the first 600 cubic feet (CF) every two months and $5.36 per consumption above that amount. Your rate for water is made up of two components: a minimum service charge and a consumption charge. Residential water use is billed bimonthly.
The City Code, Chapter 78, Article IV, Sec. 78-88 describes Utility service charges and rates.
- How much do I pay for sewer collection and treatment (effective 1/1/22)?
The sewer collection cost is $23 for the first 600 cubic feet (CF) every two months and $5.09 for each additional consumption. There is a minimum service charge and consumption charge for sewer collection based on the water used. The service charge helps to cover ongoing costs for sewer collection and treatment.
Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) has a charge of $6.39 per 100 cubic feet of water or a minimum of $ 0.30 per day (whichever is greater) for sewage treatment based on metered water. HRSD charges residential customers a flat rate of $52.20 monthly for sewer treatment when water is unmetered (or per request). See HRSD for details.
- Why is there a minimum service charge and what is a minimum bill (effective 1/1/22)?
Some costs are ongoing regardless of the amount of water used. The minimum service charge is to help cover the fixed costs of our water system which include water quality, system readiness, distribution system upkeep and customer facilities maintenance. Your service charge is determined by the size of your water meter.
The minimum bill from 0 to 6 consumptions is $70.56. This does not include the HRSD sewage treatment charge.
- How much is an average bill (effective 1/1/22)?
An average bill based on 12 consumptions for two months is $133.26. This does not include the HRSD sewage treatment charge.
- What should I do if I think I have a leak somewhere in my house?
There are some things you can check for yourself. Look inside and outside your house for dripping faucets and repair these, if necessary. A leaky toilet is easy to detect also. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank and do not flush. After about 15 minutes check the toilet bowl for color in the water. If color is present, you have a leak. Toilet leaks can waste hundreds of gallons of water. To request a free leak detection kit, email your address to Public Utilities or call Public Utilities Customer Service at 757-382-6352 and ask for a leak detection kit. The kit contains a dye tablet and additional information and suggestions on detection and repair of leaks in your home.
After the leak in your home has been repaired contact Public Utilities Customer Service at 757-382-6352.
- What should I do if sewage backs up into my bath tub or toilet?
Call Public Utilities first so that we can check the City line for a blockage.
- During normal office hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) call the Customer Contact Center, 757-382-2489 (CITY)
- If your problem occurs after normal office hours, call the After-Hours Emergency Number, 757-382-3550
We will investigate the problem and advise you if the blockage has been cleared or that there was no blockage in the City line and you should contact your plumber for assistance.
- Why is there a big truck in the street in front of my house and why are my toilets suddenly making noise?
All City vehicles have a number posted on the front, sides, and back. Try to get the number on the truck. The truck number will identify the specific vehicle and make it possible to determine which Department and which crew is working there. If in doubt you may contact 757-382-2489 (CITY) to inquire.
The truck may be on your street to clean sanitary sewer lines. When washing sanitary sewer main lines, air is pushed out and sucked into the system via vent stacks at the top of your house and through manhole lids. This may cause a bubbling or gurgling sound in your toilet.
If it is a box truck or a customized van, it may be inspecting the inside of the piping with a closed circuit TV camera. The crew may be inspecting more than one segment of pipe from one location. You should see proper safety cones and signs for City crews working in the street.
- How is the water checked for quality and how can I find out about the quality of the water?
Chesapeake has two state-of-the-art water treatment plants. The Northwest River Treatment Plant uses conventional treatment and reverse osmosis. The Lake Gaston Treatment Plant uses an ultrafiltration process. Operators 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 adsorption and gas chromatography, as well as wet chemistry to determine what the water contains.
A water quality report is produced every year and is available to all residents at City libraries, community centers and online. Call Public Utilities Customer Service at 757-382-6352 to request a copy or contact our water quality laboratory at 757-382-3550 for results of water quality testing.
- Where can I have my water tested?
If you simply wish to have your water tested for informational purposes, you should contact a private laboratory for assistance. This applies to citizens either on City water or on well water. If you have City water and have a concern about the water quality, the water quality laboratory at the Northwest River Water Treatment Plant may be able to help you. Call 757-382-3550. If you have well water, contact the Chesapeake Health Department at 757-382-8600 for help.
- Why does my water smell like sulfur or rotten eggs?
A sulfurous odor or "rotten-egg" smell is commonly caused by the breakdown of sulfate in your hot water heater. Regular flushing of your hot water heater will eliminate this problem. Clogged/dirty drains are another cause of odor problems.
To determine if this is the problem, fill a clean glass with the water, walk away from the sink and smell the water in the glass. If you do not notice an odor in the water in the glass, the drain may be the problem. To correct this problem, clear the drain of any debris or other substances that may cause an odor.
- Why does my water look cloudy or discolored?
Cloudy water may be due to tiny air bubbles suspended in your cold water. Fill a clear glass with water and set it aside for a few minutes. Bubbles will rise to the top and the water will clear up.
Discolored water can also occur when there is a change of pressure in the water system such as a main break, construction, or use of a fire hydrant. Sediment (minerals deposited on the inside of the pipe) will be loosened from the sides of the pipe and cause the water to look reddish or brown. When your water is discolored, we recommend that you avoid washing clothes or dishes until the sediment settles-usually in about two hours. If the water is still discolored after that time, contact the water quality laboratory at 757-382-3550.
- What is the orange or pink coating on my faucets and showerheads?
This coating is commonly caused by airborne bacteria which produce the characteristic orange/pink film. These organisms are harmless and are commonly found in areas where there have been reconstruction or remodeling activities. These bacteria thrive on moist surfaces and can be eliminated and/or prevented by keeping surfaces as clean and dry as possible.
- Why does my hot water have white particles in it?
White particles in your water are often caused by the breakdown of the dip tube in your hot water heater. Replacement of the dip tube and regular flushing of your hot water heater will eliminate this problem.
- I'm on a sodium-restricted diet. Is Chesapeake water safe to drink?
If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, as with anything else, it is best to contact your doctor to determine how you should modify your diet.
- My water is coming out in a slow trickle. What is happening?
Low pressure may be caused by an obstruction in the City line, the meter, or your own water lines. Call Public Utilities Customer Service at 757-382-6352 and we will dispatch a service crew to check the City line and meter. If no problem is found with the City lines, then you will need to contact a plumber to evaluate the problem in your lines.
- What are the water and sewer connection fees?
Connection fees are required for all new service locations. Water and sewer connection fees are based on water meter size and whether the City or a developer extended the water and/or sewer mains for a new service. Chesapeake City Code Section 78-86 lists the water and sewer connection fees.
- Are water and sewer available to a property?
Chesapeake City water and/or sewer are considered available if the property borders a City right-of-way or alley where there are City water and/or sewer lines installed in the right-of-way or alley are adjacent to the property. The parcel to be served must be wholly within the Utility Franchise Area.
- Can a property connect to City water and sewer when the property does not have right-of-way frontage?
Contact Chesapeake Public Utilities at 757-382-6671 for information.
- Do I have to connect to City water and sewer if they are available to my property?
Yes. Chesapeake City Code Section 78-52 requires all properties that border a City right-of-way or alley where City water and/or sewer has been installed to pay the connection fees and connect to City water and/or sewer.
- How can I get City water and sewer?
If Chesapeake City water and/or sewer is not available to a property, water and/or sewer must be extended to the property in order for City water and/or sewer to become available. This can occur in several ways.
- The City may extend water and/or sewer by way of a City Capital Improvement Project or bond referendum.
- The property owner may extend water and/or sewer at no cost to the City.
- The City and the property owner may enter into a Cost Participation Program where both parties share in the cost of extending water and/or sewer.
- A developer, other than the property owner, may extend water and/or sewer that becomes available to the property.
Contact Public Utilities Engineering at 757-382-6050 for further information.
- Does the City have any plans to extend water and/or sewer to my neighborhood?
In most cases, developers extend City water and/or sewer for their projects. The City may extend water and/or sewer by way of a City Capital Improvement Project or Cost Participation Program for areas on the Unserved Areas List.
Refer to the current Capital Improvement Budget to determine if City water and/or sewer is planned to be extended to your neighborhood.
- What is a backflow and a cross-connection? Why the concern about cross-connection and backflow prevention?
Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow of non-drinkable water or other substance into the public water system or consumer's drinking water system. A cross-connection is any connection between a public water system or consumer's potable water system and non-potable water or other substance. An example is the public water system and a homeowner's landscape irrigation system.
Only through cross-connection controls and backflow prevention can we be assured that other substances are not contaminating our water system. Chesapeake Public Utilities has an inspection program to ensure these protections are in place in commercial buildings and businesses. Homeowners may purchase devices for their outside hose faucets from hardware stores.
For more information about backflow and cross-connection contact Public Utilities Engineering at 757-382-3414.
- What is Virginia 811? What do the colored markings mean?
Virginia 811 is a statewide program to mark existing underground utilities of all kinds before excavation. This program helps reduce the incidence of accidental cutting of cables, water and sewer lines.