The Chesterfield County Department of Utilities is a public utility that uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver the highest quality service to its customers. The department provides water service to more than 103,000 customers and wastewater service to more than 86,000 customers in the county. It works with an annual operating budget of $63.5 million, employs 285 people, owns one water treatment plant and two wastewater-treatment plants, and controls 23 water-storage tanks and 39 pump stations.
The Utilities Department is diligent about making sure that water is safely and efficiently delivered to customers. Chesterfield County water consumers can be assured that the water they drink meets or exceeds federal drinking-water standards. The water-quality testing program is aggressive in meeting the standards, representing far more additional tests beyond the minimum levels required by law.
Maintaining the water quality in the James River and the Chesapeake Bay is equally as important to the social and economic future of Chesterfield County and the commonwealth of Virginia. The Proctors Creek and the Falling Creek wastewater treatment plants play significant roles in achieving this goal by consistently meeting all environmental regulations. Both plants have received awards of excellence from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Water Environment Association. The Proctors Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant currently is undergoing an expansion. Both plants are currently being upgraded to remove nutrients to better protect the James River and Chesapeake Bay.
The Chesterfield County Utilities Department prides itself on the quality of its products and services, financial stability, customer service and workplace environment. The department’s business/performance plan is established around these four components. Performance measures that track how well we meet department goals are established for every work section in the department. Ensuring that each section is performing to its potential is reviewed throughout the year.
Progressive management and efficient department operations also have allowed the department to become a recognized leader in Virginia as well as the nation. Following are examples illustrating the department’s effectiveness:
- The department was one of 18 utilities in the country, and the first in Virginia, to meet the standards of the Partnership for Safe Drinking Water Program. This voluntary program, established by the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Water Works Association and others, demands extremely stringent performance and plant operations to assure drinking water quality of the highest standard. Likewise, the department was the first in Virginia to receive the EPA’s 10-Year Director’s Award for maintaining these high performance levels for 10 years.
- In October 2008, the department was awarded the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies Platinum Award for Utility Excellence. It was one of only 11 public drinking-water systems in the country to receive this award. The Platinum Award was based on the Attributes of Effectively Managed Utilities developed by a blue-ribbon panel of water and wastewater utility executives and commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and other water-industry associations. The attributes identified 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.
- The department is one of the few drinking-water utilities that has never had a primary drinking- water-standard violation.
- Both the Proctor’s Creek and Falling Creek wastewater treatment plants, routinely receive annual Gold and Silver awards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies for exceptional compliance with discharge-permit regulations.
- The user rates for water and sewer service in Chesterfield County are significantly lower than that of other localities in the region. One reason for this efficiency is our employee-to-customer ratio, which also is lower than our benchmarking partners.
- The department is one of few utilities that has established a “Rate Stabilization Fund” to address the replacement of aging infrastructure. This fund, established in 1995, is used for the replacement of older water and sewer lines through the department’s Capital Improvement Program. The implementation of this fund, as well as the relative young age of the utility system in Chesterfield County, is atypical of many of the “aging-infrastructure” issues commonly reported.
- The department’s triple-AAA bond rating status was affirmed by the top three rating agencies with the 2009 bond issuance of $47.9 million. In 2011 and 2013, Fitch Ratings affirmed its rating given to Chesterfield Utilities after performing a periodic surveillance review. In 2012, Standard and Poor’s affirmed its AAA rating given to Chesterfield. The rating achievements over the past couple of years are particularly noteworthy given the economy. Chesterfield Utilities is one of only a few utilities in the country to have a AAA rating from all three rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.
These activities and recognitions represent only a few of the department’s achievements. The department functions with a detailed, focused business plan that is supported by a staff of dedicated, professional employees. We are proud of the service we provide to our customers.