ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - People in Albemarle County and Charlottesville could soon enjoy cleaner tap water.

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has spent $29 million upgrading its water treatment systems. The RWSA is launching upgrades at five plants, all with the same purpose - to improve water quality in the city and county.

After six years of work, the South Rivanna Treatment Plant in Albemarle County is officially online as of Tuesday, May 8. The new process sounds simple, but it hasn't been all smooth sailing for the RWSA.

“We've been through this for six years from inception, through design, through construction, and we're finally here and running this," says Dave Tungate, RWSA’s director of operations.

Back in 2012, the RWSA found a cheaper solution to provide cleaner water. But Tungate was shocked at the community's response.

“A very momentous occasion where the community said, 'we know there is a cheaper solution, a more cost-effective solution, but we wanna pay more for this,’” says Tungate. “‘We want this protection. We want this standard of water.’”

That's when the RWSA shifted to the use of granular activated carbon.

“They're large vessels, and we run the water through the vessels,” says Bill Mawyer, the executive director of the RWSA. “It has the carbon material in the vessels, and it takes out things that we wanna remove from the drinking water."

While people may not taste a difference, the system will filter out organic material and reduce the smell of chlorine.

“It's a very forward-thinking mentality to put this carbon in place," says Tungate.

The South Rivanna Treatment Plant produces around 5-10 million gallons of water each day.

A ribbon cutting is set for Wednesday, May 9, at the Crozet plant, followed by another next week in Scottsville.

Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority Press Release:

Charlottesville, VA—April 24, 2018

As part of our mission to provide clean, safe, high-quality drinking water to the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County Service Authority, we have completed construction of a new Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) water treatment system at all five of our water treatment plants (South Rivanna, North Rivanna, Observatory, Crozet, and Scottsville).

GAC is highly effective at removing a wide variety of organic materials and other select contaminants to further improve water quality. It is one of the leading means of improving water quality in the industry. After extensive public input in 2012, the GAC system was selected as the preferred method to remove organic material during the water treatment process. Construction of the GAC systems began in 2015, and was recently completed for a total cost of approx. $24 million. As the new GAC systems are going on-line at the water treatment plants, RWSA will host three ribbon cutting celebrations:

  • South Rivanna Water Treatment Plant – Tuesday, May 8th at 10am
    • 2385 Woodburn Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901
  • Crozet Water Treatment Plant – Tuesday, May 9th at 10am
    • 4673 Three Notched Road, Crozet, VA 22932
  • Scottsville Water Treatment Plant – Wednesday, May 16th at 10am
    • 663 James River Road, Scottsville, VA 24590

Please join us in celebrating this achievement.

About RWSA

Rivanna Water and Sewer’s mission is to ensure adequate water supply for now and in the future while protecting the natural environment. As the wholesale provider of clean, safe, high-quality drinking water, we serve the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County Service Authority’s over 110,000 customers. RWSA then treats the wastewater, so it can safely return to the aquatic environment of the Rivanna River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. For more information, please visit: