The City of Buena Vista provides safe and pure water for its citizens with public water provided by various wells located throughout the city. All guidelines set by the Health Department on water quality are followed and tests are done each month to ensure the water contains no harmful bacteria or other harmful contaminants.

Sewage treatment is provided at the City’s own wastewater treatment facility located on 10th Street. As with the treatment of drinking water, all Health Departments requirements are followed and tests are regularly performed to ensure the safety of City residents.

We welcome your questions regarding water, sewer, and garbage and are happy to respond. Questions regarding invoices for those services should be directed to:

Water Department

540-261-1444

Annual report for 2016
Annual report for 2015
Annual report for 2014
See Dropbox for 2014 report

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Is my meter?
Water service begins at the meter, which is usually located in the alley right-of-way behind a resident’s home. Alternatively, the meter may be located in the street right-of-way just beyond the property line. The meter itself is typically located in a vault with a metal lid that looks like a small manhole. Starting at the meter, the pipe that runs from the meter to the home belongs to resident and is their responsibility. From the meter and beyond is the City’s responsibility.

How often does the City read my meter?
The most common statement we hear from a customer is “You didn’t read my meter.” All meters are read once a month unless the meter is determined to be broken (see section Water and Sewer billing) or weather conditions such as heavy snow prevent us from reading the meters and an estimate is provided in that case. Meters are read electronically via handheld computer to ensure billing accuracy.

Why don’t you read my meter the same day every month?
Every attempt is made to read each meter at least during the same week of every month. Delays may occur due to emergency situations such as water and sewer line breaks that require immediate staff attention. There are over 2,600 meters in Buena Vista and poor weather conditions may also impact our ability to read each of them on precisely the same date each month.

Will I be notified of higher than normal water use?
Our meter readers make an effort to notify customers of high water use. They frequently alert customers to readings that seem higher than normal when they are in the process of reading the meters.

How many days are in a billing cycle?
If there are concerns regarding a billing, it is a good idea to keep monthly bills handy. Check the READING DATE provided on the bill and see how many days there were in the billing period. It may be that this bill reflects more days than the previous month’s bill. Also, note that the bill is for the previous month’s usage.

Does the City bill me for the exact gallons used?
The billing department rounds down to the nearest 100 gallons when invoicing. If for example, a bill for the month is for 4,200 gallons used, a customer may have actually used 4,299 gallons. During the next month, if that same customer uses 4,210 gallons, they would be billed for 4,300 gallons. That’s why every few months a bill may be one or two hundred gallons higher or lower than a previous, or future, month’s billing.

How do I check my toilet for leaks?
Toilets are notorious for their hidden leaks. Most toilet leaks are at the overflow pipe. If overflow is the problem, a screw or knob on the valve or valve column will adjust the float arm down so the valve shuts off the water about a half inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If that doesn’t fix it, the valve may be worn and have to be replaced. If a resident is an experienced handyman, they may be able to do the job. If an experienced person is not available, we recommend that a plumber be called.
The flapper valve opens when you flush your toilet. If the valve doesn’t properly seal or hangs open frequently, the homeowner may be losing water. To test this, remove the top of the tank behind the bowl and put three or four drops of food coloring in the tank water. The toilet should NOT be flushed for an hour or more (if possible). Then the water in the bowl should be checked for any color. If the bowl water has been colored with the food coloring, there is a leak. This type of leak is usually easy to eliminate by replacing the flapper assembly. Replacement of the flapper is a relatively simple repair job for a handyman or experienced do-it-yourselfer.

Can I get my meter tested?
If a resident feels their meter is not working properly and they have checked for leaks as described above, they may request that the meter be tested. If the meter is found to read high, the City will install a new meter and the resident will be credited based on usage for the previous 12 months. If the meter is found to be reading accurately a $10.00 test fee will be assessed with the next billing.

Water and Sewer Billing

All residential and commercial customers are billed monthly and generally mailed the first week of each month. Bills are computed based on actual usage and it is our policy not to estimate a bill unless a meter is shown to be faulty and has stopped working. Every attempt is made to read meters on or about the same day of the month in order to provide for a consistent number of days usage on each invoice. To ensure accuracy, all meters are read with a handheld computer.

A disconnect notice will be sent for any account showing a past-due balance equal to or greater than $20.00 at the end of the month. A reconnection fee will be charged to all customers who have their meters disconnected for non-payment. To restore services, those same customers will be subject to paying a security deposit.

Water and Sewer services are charged on a rate per 1,000 gallons of usage. The rates are as follows:

Water:                                $7.48 per 1000 gallons

Sewer:                                 $7.44 per 1000 gallons

For more information contact the Public Works Department at 540-261-1444.

Water Saving Tips

Saving water in the bathroom

  • Check toilet for leaks. Place a small quantity of food coloring in the toilet tank and if, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl, there is a leak that should be repaired immediately.
  • NEVER use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Each time a cigarette butt, facial tissue, or other small bits of trash are flushed in the toilet, the homeowner wastes five to seven gallons of water. Cigarette butts can quickly and safely be extinguished with a small quantity of water from the tap and then disposed of safely in the trash along with tissues or other refuse.
  • To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand pebbles inside two or three plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill them the rest of the way with water and place them inside the toilet tank. In an average home, the bottles may displace and save ten or more gallons of water a day.
  • Take shorter showers and encourage others in the home to do the same. Long, hot showers can waste five to ten gallons every unneeded minute they are kept running.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks.
  • Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush. There is no need to keep water pouring down the drain. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
  • Rinse your razor in the sink. Fill the bottom of a sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your blade as well as running water. And far less wastefully.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 20 or more gallons a day. Large leaks can waste hundreds.

 

Saving water in the kitchen and laundry

  • Use your automatic dishwasher only for full loads.
  • Use your automatic washing machine only for full loads.
  • If you wash dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have only one sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water.
  • Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks.

 

Saving water outside

  • Water the lawn only when it needs it. Lawns and flowerbeds typically need only an inch of rain each week. If the home has a sprinkler system, don’t allow it to run unnecessarily—turn it off those weeks when rain has provided the required moisture (one inch). A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, fetch the sprinkler or turn the automatic system back on.
  • Deep soak your lawn. When watering, sprinkle long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it can do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. With flowerbeds place rain gauges in strategic spots to check the amount of rain received. No rain gauge, a coffee can hidden in the flowerbed can provide the same information.
  • Water during the cool parts of the day. Early morning generally is better than dusk since the sun will help to prevent fungus growth such as black spot on roses and other fungal plant problems.
  • Don’t water the gutter. Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on the paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days when evaporation will rob much of the intended moisture from plants and lawn.
  • Place a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation of moisture and discourage weed growth. Mulch will also assist in reducing the amount of time needed to maintain weed-free flowerbeds.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks. Gallons of water can be wasted in this manner and is detrimental to healthy lawns and flowerbeds.
  • Don’t leave the hose on while washing a car. Using a pail of soapy water can be just as effective. Use the hose to rinse off the soap and then turn the faucet off.
  • Check your hoses to be sure the washer just inside the end is still in good condition and not dried out. Replacement of the washer can be a simple and inexpensive fix to a hose leak that occurs at the faucet or where a sprinkler head is attached.
  • Discourage children from playing with the hose and sprinklers.
  • Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets, and couplings. Keep your sprinklers and other attachments in good working order. Repair or replace damaged items.

Wastewater Treatment

The current wastewater treatment plant was built in 1986. It is a rotating biological contact type treatment facility designed to handle 2.25 million gallons/day. The plant performs daily lab tests to ensure a high performance of their work.

For more information on this office, contact:

Trina Mastran, Director

540-261-1078