News You Can Use

Loudoun Water Begins Preparation for Beaverdam Creek Reservoir Renovation Process

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Authorized Access Only to Begin Immediately at the Reservoir

Loudoun Water announced today that access to the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir and the surrounding property will be temporarily closed to public access – effective immediately.  The access restriction is necessary as Loudoun Water begins the renovation process to upgrade the site to meet the Virginia dam safety design and regulatory criteria as well as address safety and land use management issues.  The assessment, inspection, planning, design, permitting, construction and acceptance activities associated with the renovation are anticipated to be completed by late 2018.

The 600-acre Beaverdam Creek Reservoir and surrounding land is a critical asset in protecting and planning for the future sustainability of Loudoun County’s drinking water resources.  Loudoun Water purchased it along with the Goose Creek Reservoir, Goose Creek Water Treatment Plant and the water transmission pipeline along the W&OD Trail to the Fairfax County line in January 2014 as a part of a $30 million deal with the City of Fairfax.

“Loudoun Water is making a significant capital commitment to upgrade the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir to meet the drinking water supply needs of Loudoun Water customers well into the future,” said Fred Jennings, General Manager of Loudoun Water.  “As a part of the renovation process, it is necessary to temporarily restrict access only to authorized users to ensure the safety of the public as well as those working on the renovation.”

During the renovation process, Loudoun Water plans to embark on a land management planning process, including an extensive stakeholder involvement process.  Our objective is to create a plan that, first and foremost, manages the reservoir as a drinking water resource, while supporting an appropriate level of public use and enjoyment after renovations have been completed. 

“The reservoir potential has not been fully realized due to challenges such as the lack of access, absence of a land management plan and ongoing security issues,” said Johnny Rocca, Chairman of the Loudoun Water Board of Directors.  “With this planning process, we will aim to appropriately complement Loudoun Water’s primary responsibility to protect and maintain the reservoir as a long-term drinking water resource with the desirability of creating a community resource.” 

Click here to view the Original Press Release

Loudoun Water Acquires Reservoirs and Treatment Plant from City of Fairfax

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Loudoun Water has executed a historic purchase agreement to acquire all drinking water assets in Loudoun County controlled by the City of Fairfax. The $30 million purchase includes the Goose Creek Water Treatment Plant, Goose Creek and Beaverdam Reservoirs, and a pipeline along the W&OD Trail to the Fairfax County line. The City of Fairfax established their drinking water system in Loudoun County during the late 1950's. Since that time, the City has provided drinking water to Loudoun Water customers through a wholesale agreement, while sending the majority of drinking water to its customers via a cross-county transmission pipeline. City of Fairfax residents will now be served by Fairfax Water. Loudoun Water will dedicate the full 11 million gallon per day capacity of the Goose Creek Water Treatment Plant to serving its growing customer base.

"By purchasing these assets, we seized a strategic opportunity to own our future and have better control over significant operations impacting our customers. The value of owning these assets is only enhanced by their strategic fit with our initiative to establish new drinking water resources along the Potomac River and Goose Creek. This purchase complements our capital programs and provides our customers reliability and sustainability long into the future" said General Manager Fred Jennings.

The Loudoun Water Board of Directors established new rates in 2012 in part to account for planned capital investments such as the purchase of the City of Fairfax assets. The acquisition helps stabilize future costs for Loudoun Water customers. In recent years Loudoun Water customer rates have increased at 3% annually.

"We expect that trend to continue" said Johnny Rocca, Chairman of the Loudoun Water Board of Directors. "The financial impact of this purchase to our customers will be very manageable. We have planned for this investment for many years. We must grow as our customer base grows. Managing competitive rates is one of the Board's primary responsibilities, and we take great pride in having established some of the lowest rates in the region."

For more information regarding Loudoun Water, please visit our website: www.loudounwater.org

Original Press Release

New General Manager Marks New Era For Loudoun Water

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Ashburn, Virginia -- Loudoun Water has ushered in a new era of leadership through the appointment of Fred E. Jennings as General Manager. Mr. Jennings was selected to lead the organization by the Loudoun Water Board of Directors at their December 2013 board meeting. Mr. Jennings holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tufts University and an M.B.A from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. He most recently served as Water Client Sector Lead for MWH Americas, Inc. and was formerly Managing Director in the Management Consulting Division of Black & Veatch Corporation. He brings 33 years of diverse utility consulting experience to the water authority.

Loudoun Water's Board of Directors formed a selection committee to conduct a nationwide search for General Manager candidate to succeed Dale Hammes, who announced his intention to retire in July 2013. Mr. Jennings was selected from a candidate pool of over 70 qualified applicants. The hiring makes Mr. Jennings Loudoun Water's fourth General Manager since the authority was created in 1959. As General Manager Mr. Jennings will oversee utility operations and guide the organization's infrastructure development initiatives, which includes developing new water resources and constructing a new water treatment plant. Mr. Jennings envisions a high performing, customer-focused utility with strong commitments to customer service, communications, infrastructure investment, financial governance, and sustainability.

"With prominent projects underway and crucial strategic decisions on the horizon, I am excited to manage the organization at such an important and challenging time," said Jennings. "Loudoun Water is a great company and a tremendous community asset. I'm proud and honored to have been selected to lead such unique and important work on behalf of the community."

Mr. Jennings stepped down as Chairman of the Loudoun Water Board of Directors in transitioning to General Manager. He is succeeded as Chairman by Johnny Rocca, who previously served as Chairman of the Loudoun Water Board of Directors during 2004 and 2005. Ralph Watson now serves as Vice-Chairman.

Click here for the Original Press Release

Preventing Frozen Water Pipes

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As the weather turns colder, water expands as it freezes and this can put tremendous stress on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. Usually pipes that freeze are exposed to severe cold weather, like outdoor hose bibs, water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements, garages, or kitchen cabinets.   

Here are a few preventive measures that can help you when temperatures dip below freezing:

  • Tightly close doors and windows to the outside.
  • Insulate pipes and any drafty areas. Contact your local hardware store for proper materials. 
  • Seal all leaks in crawl spaces and basements.
  • Shut off and drain the pipes leading to your outside faucets so no water is left to freeze, expand and cause a leak in these lines.
  • Close the inside valves and drain the pipes leading to your outside hose bib (faucet).
  • Know where your main shut off valve is and label it. Minimize the potential for water damage by ensuring that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in case of an emergency.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Hardware and plumbing supply stores carry insulation to keep pipes from freezing.

During significant cold snaps, follow these tips: 

  • Open the cabinets beneath any place with a water supply, such as the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This will allow warm air to circulate. (Remove any toxic substances first if there are small children in the home.)
  • To prevent your pipes from freezing, allow a faucet to drip cold water slowly. The faucet you choose should be the one that is the greatest distance from your main water shut off valve.
  • If your pipes freeze, never thaw a pipe with an open flame. You can use a hair dryer on low or a portable heater, but avoid using electrical appliances if there is standing water. Use warm water to soak towels, then wrap the towels around the frozen pipes.

If you turn on a faucet and only have a trickle of water coming out or no water at all and it has been very cold for a period of time, suspect a frozen pipe or meter. Identify whether the problem is throughout the house or in one area.

If it’s only in one area of your household, you may be able to thaw the pipe by opening the cabinets and allowing the warmer air to circulate around the pipes. Always remove any toxic substances first if there are small children in the home. You could use a hair dryer on low or a portable heater, but avoid using electrical appliances if there is standing water.

If there is no water throughout your household or you think you may have a frozen pipe or meter and have determined that it is not within the home, please contact Loudoun Water Customer Relations at 571.291.7880 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm) or our After Hours emergency number at 571.291.7878.  In this situation, always contact Loudoun Water before contacting a plumber. In order to assist you, someone will need to be home. The Loudoun Water representative will check with you before leaving to ensure your water has been reinstated.

Visit our website and click on Plumbing and Pipes for more information.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday our offices will be closing at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27, and will remain closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29. If you have an emergency that requires immediate assistance during this time, please call 571.291.7878 and you will be directed to our on-call service. If you are attempting to make a payment or make payment arrangements and are experiencing difficulty using our payment options, please contact our office on Monday, December 2 when we reopen at 8:00 a.m.

As always, you may use our website to complete your request online:
Pay a Bill
Start/Stop Service
Contact Us

Thank you and have a happy holiday season!

Loudoun Water Board Kicks Off Search for New General Manager

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Loudoun Water, a public utility located in Ashburn, Virginia is actively recruiting for a General Manager. Loudoun Water’s current General Manager is retiring after a successful career spanning over 35 years and serving as GM for the past 14 years. The ideal successor will continue to respond to the changing dynamics of the organization, and the county, by providing leadership and strategic direction to the rapidly growing operations of this public utility. A description of GM responsibilities and organizational structure is included in the public advertisement for the position. The position will be appointed by the Board of Directors and will remain open until filled. Employment terms are negotiable. Confidentiality will be respected for all applicants.

Resumes, comments, and suggestions may be sent directly to the Board of Directors’ Selection Committee at GM-apply@loudounwater.org or mailed to:

Loudoun Water
GM Apply
PO Box 973
Ashburn, VA  20146  

Selection Committee - Loudoun Water’s Board of Directors has appointed three sitting members to serve on an ad hoc committee to search for a suitable successor.  Johnny Rocca, the Board’s Vice-Chairman, will serve the Selection Committee as its Chair. He is joined in service by board members Hobie Mitchel and Shaun Kelley.

Selection Committee News - The Selection Committee’s meeting schedule is as follows:

  • June 13th at 2:00 pm in the Board Room
  • July 11th at 2:00 pm in the Board Room
  • September 12th at 2:00 pm in the Board Room
  • October 3rd at 8:00 am in the Board Room (tentative)

Meeting summaries can be found by following this link.

All Selection Committee meetings take place in the board room of Loudoun Water’s Administrative Services Facility, located on at 44865 Loudoun Water Way Ashburn, VA 20147.

 

Chlorine, Black Specks and Air Bubbles...Oh my!

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It is that time of year again, our Annual Flushing Program is underway! We always get a lot of questions around this time of year as to why we do this, so please follow the link to see what areas we are currently flushing in!

Smelling Extra Chlorine?

You may notice a more pronounced chlorine taste or odor in the water during springtime flushing. This is because our largest supplier, Fairfax Water, switches from chloramines to free chlorine as a disinfectant during flushing to optimize treatment. Free chlorine has a more noticeable chlorine taste and odor than chloramines. This will dissipate when water is left in an open container in the refrigerator. Letting water sit in a glass for a moment will also take care of air bubbles that are stirred up during flushing and cause the milky appearance.

Loudoun Water is unable to advise customers of the exact date the water mains serving a particular area will be flushed or whether water service in an area will be affected. If your service is currently affected, it should only be for a short period, usually no more than a couple of days. We regret any inconvenience flushing may cause.

Seeing Black Specks?

Perhaps the most common cause of black specks in tap water is from the deterioration of rubber materials used in plumbing fixtures. Gaskets and O-rings can degrade over time and the pieces can collect in toilet tanks and around faucets. Braided stainless-steel flex connections, toilet tank valves, and gaskets are common sources. If they are made of neoprenes, nitriles, isoprene and/or natural rubber materials they tend to degrade when in contact with the chlorine or chloramines in the tap water. Chloramines cause a more rapid breakdown with cracking and loss of elasticity and strength. You need to look for materials that are resistant to chloramines such as silicon-based rubber, synthetic polymers or fluorocarbon, or copper and nylon flex connections. The products should be labeled with explanations that they are more resistant to chlorine and chloramines.

If the specks can be smudged between your fingers, then it is likely a deteriorating rubber material. If it does not smudge easily between your fingers, then it is likely sediment or manganese. For sediment or manganese, flush the lines in your home and give us a call so we can flush the water distribution mains servicing your home to help clear the pipes. Newly constructed or renovated buildings can experience similar problems with particles. Sometimes plumbers disturb a plumbing system as they go about their work. Sometimes new systems need to be broken in. Flushing the system really well can be a remedy.

Air Bubbles

We are in the middle of our annual flushing program which consists of flowing water out of selected fire hydrants in order to remove accumulated sediment, improve water delivery and increase chlorine residuals in the water. The flushing is performed by drawing enough water through the mains at sufficient force and duration to flush out accumulated deposits of sediments. By use of valve closures, workers are able to isolate the main being flushed and direct the flow of water one way towards a fire hydrant. The main is then flushed by opening a hydrant at sufficient velocity to loosen and remove sediment, resulting in clean, clear water. The flushing program helps maintain flow capacity and water quality in the distribution system; remove impurities associated with new and repaired mains, and helps eliminate taste, odors and discoloration from the water. We also test and perform routine maintenance on valves and fire hydrants during the flushing operation.

Flushing may result in some temporary discoloration in the water, or air in the line, which is common during any interruption or disturbance in the distribution system. When air is present the water may appear cloudy but you will notice that the water will begin to rapidly clear from the bottom up when left standing in a clear glass. This will improve as you run the taps in your home to flush out your residential plumbing.