Virginia Water Solution
Investing for Sustainability
What is now known as the Virginia American Water drinking water Main Plant facility was first developed in Hopewell by the DuPont Company in 1914 as a dynamite factory, and then it was switched to the manufacture of guncotton during World War 1. After the war, there was no longer a high demand for guncotton, so the facility eventually was turned over to the Tubize Corporation. Since the facility utilized much water in the manufacturing process, the facility eventually transitioned over to the production of drinking water. In 1972 the Old Dominion Water Company merged with Alexandria Water and Prince William Water to become the Virginia American Water Company.
Due to the Industrial environment in the area in 1961, Virginia American Water became one of the first drinking water facilities in America to utilize Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) as part of the drinking water process. GAC has adsorptive properties which can remove contaminants from water prior to disinfection.
In April of 2001, Virginia American Water acquired ownership and is the current operator at the U.S. Army Garrison at Ft. Lee, Virginia. This was the first military contract that was implemented by American Water. Since then, there have been many other similar military contracts awarded to American Water.
During 2001 – 2002, six Industrial customers transitioned over to utilizing non-potable (non-drinking) water for production purposes. Prior to the transition, the Water Quality drinking water regulations became more stringent and would have made it more expensive to upgrade the facilities to meet the new standards. It was found that non-potable water was a cost effective solution to provide process water to the Industries that is not of the higher drinking water grade.
During the drought conditions in the Central Virginia area in 2002 and 2007, many of the area’s cities, towns, and counties underwent voluntary and/or mandatory water restrictions to preserve the water table. It is very fortunate that Virginia American Water has a water intake pumping station that is located at the Appomattox River along the confluence of the James River. Therefore, during this time, Virginia American Water had a substantial water supply, but still provided tips for “Wise Water Usage”, and did not have to undergo mandatory water restrictions.
During the flooding conditions that were caused by Hurricane Isabel during 2003, many of the Tri-City and surrounding drinking water facilities were off-line for several day or weeks. Virginia American Water had several dedicated employees meet the challenge over a three day period to become one of the first drinking water facilities to go back on-line to provide safe and reliable drinking water to the public.