Water System UpGRADES

Our customers count on us to provide safe, reliable water service. By continually upgrading our infrastructure, we plan to keep it that way. Think of it as your water bill at work—right in your own neighborhood. Over the past few years, we’ve dramatically accelerated our water main replacement program. Today, we’re investing at about a 100-year replacement rate. 

It’s no secret that much of the water infrastructure across the country is aging and in need of repair or replacement. Our engineering and operations teams work closely to identify problem areas and put plans into action to upgrade our systems and infrastructure. These projects benefit our customers through enhanced service reliability, water quality and fire protection. 

Click the map below to see how we're putting your water bill to work in 2018. 

2018 StoryMap Screenshot

2017 System Improvements

Last year, we invested $73 million to improve the water treatment and pipeline systems that serve our 167,000 customers across West Virginia. Here are some highlights of how we put your water bill to work in 2017:

Water Mains, Service Lines and Hydrants

We invested $22.5 million to replace 155,532 feet (nearly 30 miles) of aging pipe primarily installed between the early 1900s and the 1940s with new pipe, as well as numerous service lines and fire hydrants. These improvement projects help improve water quality, pressure, fire protection and service reliability. 

Water Tanks

We invested $9 million to build two new water storage tanks in the St. Albans area, adding 8 million gallons of water storage to our Kanawha Valley system. We also spent  $1.5 million to rehabilitate and paint six water storage tanks in Charleston, Chelyan, Dunbar, Eskdale, Nitro, Salt Rock and to extend the life of the tanks and bring them up to current industry standards. 

Water Treatment

Our treatment plants received upgrades to intakes, pumps, filters, instrumentation, SCADA systems, and chemical feed systems. We completed a multi-year project to fully automate the New River water treatment plant and installed air-stripping systems at two tanks in our Huntington system to reduce the potential for harmful disinfection byproducts.

Pumping Stations

We improved or replaced multiple booster stations and pressure reducing stations across our system to maintain proper flows and water pressure across mountainous terrain.

Source Water Protection

We installed a new continuous monitoring system for organic contaminants at our Kanawha Valley treatment plant, which became part of ORSANCO’s Organic Detection System – a network we’ve participated in for decades at our Huntington plant. We also conducted a location study for upstream monitors on the Elk River and invested in equipment to better view and evaluate data from online source water monitors at all of our treatment facilities.

About the Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC)

A Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) is a small surcharge on top of current water rates to cover the cost of certain water infrastructure replacement and reliability projects that the Public Service Commission determined to be appropriate and in the public interest. A DSIC allows for up-front PSC review and approval of our compmany’s proposed infrastructure replacement and reliability projects each year, and then provides a way for all customers, who ultimately benefit from these investments, to make very small payments toward them each month.

In 2018, customers will pay a 3.15 percent surcharge on their monthly bills to help fund water system improvements. This amount translates to approximately $1.50 for the average residential customer’s monthly water bill. 

Why capital investments are so important

According to the 2017 Report Card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, West Virginia has $1.16 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs and $3.26 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. We are jeopardizing our quality of life today and for future generations if we fail to properly maintain this vital infrastructure. That’s why West Virginia American Water, with an approximately 4,200-mile network of water and sewer main across the state, proactively replaces aging pipe and upgrades our facilities to continue to deliver reliable service, high-quality water and fire protection.