To ensure the Utilities Department provides safe, efficient, and reliable water and wastewater services to satisfy the current and future needs of County water and sewer customers. The Utilities Fund is a proprietary enterprise fund used to account for funds needed to operate, maintain and expand Stafford County’s Water and Wastewater system. The Utilities Fund is financed and managed in a manner similar to private business industry.
Who Are We?
The Utilities Department operates, maintains, improves, and expands Stafford County’s water and wastewater system. The Utilities Department manages the Utilities Enterprise Funds. The Capital Construction Department manages major utility infrastructure projects.
Provision of Water Services:
- Smith Lake Water Treatment Facility (WTF), rated at 10 million gallons per day (MGD), provides water to Stafford's northern region and to the Camp Barrett area of Marine Corps Base Quantico.
- Lake Mooney WTF, rated at a maximum of 12 MGD, provides water to the southern region.
- Two reservoirs, Smith Lake and Lake Mooney, supply water to Stafford County’s treatment facilities. Combined, the two reservoirs hold over 7.1 billion gallons of water. If needed, interconnect piping in the water distribution system allows treated water transfer from one service area.
- The Abel Lake WTF was taken offline in December 2014; however, the water supply remains available for future use. The capacity is expected to be needed in the future.
- The water distribution system consists of 711 miles of water lines ranging in size from 2 inches to 30 inches, 16 water tanks, 5,933 hydrants, 14 booster pump stations, and 11 elevated tanks.
Provision of Wastewater Services:
- Little Falls Run Wastewater Treatment Facility is currently permitted at 8 MGD.
- Aquia Wastewater Treatment Facility is currently permitted at 10 MGD.
- Treatment facilities utilize biological nutrient removal, ultraviolet light disinfection, and the low-load aeration system that allows higher flow rates without adversely affecting treatment.
- The wastewater collection and transmission system consists of 541 miles of sewer lines and 93 sewer pump stations.
Utilities Department Personnel:
- Personnel provide administration, customer service, planning, engineering, inspections, operations, and systems maintenance.
- All water and wastewater treatment facility operators are fully trained and most are licensed. The treatment facilities and field crews maintain an excellent safety record.
- On-call Field Operations crew and on-call Mechanics handle after-hours emergencies.
Projected Demand for Service:
- 39,400 billed customer accounts in FY 2021
- Annual system growth varies between 1.5% - 2%
- Estimated customer accounts for FY 2023 is 40,800
- 4.5% Pay Scale Adjustment
- 2.0% Salary Increase
- Two new positions requested
- Project Manager
- Water Treatment Plant Operator
- Implementation of multi-year asset management program
- Increasing commodity costs
- Requested 2.5% increase in water and sewer rates reflects Board approved Utilities finacial policy guidlines
- Major improvements at the Little Falls Waterwater Treatment Plant
- Continued focus on 3R capital projects
- Infrastructure expansion to promote economic development
Transfer to General Fund
- Utilities support of General Fund positions in the County Attorney's Office and Finance
- Public Safety shared radio communications system
Water & Sewer Fees
Utility customers are billed monthly for water consumption and wastewater usage. The Department of Utilities projects 40,800 billed customer accounts by June 2023, assuming 2% growth. This increase will help the Department meet ever-growing infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement needs while effectively addressing customer concerns. A 2.5% water and sewer rate increase is proposed for FY 2023.
Customers desiring to use Stafford County’s water and/or wastewater system pay a one-time fee per equivalent dwelling unit (EDU). Currently, the availability fees are $6,900 for water and $3,500 for wastewater (per EDU). These fees are designated for capital expansion and are used as a source to pay debt service for expansion projects.
Developers pay a pro-rata share of the cost of constructing Stafford County’s water and/or wastewater transmission systems. Fees are based on the development project's estimated impact on the appropriate water pressure or wastewater zone.
Use of Money & Property
Interest is earned on the cash and investment balances of the Utility Enterprise Fund. Interest revenue is expected to decline over the next five years as cash balances are spent down relative to large capital projects underway.
Other Charges & Fees
This category includes all other fees not included in the categories listed above.
In September 2013, the Board of Supervisors approved $45 million of water and sewer revenue bonds. The County issued $17 million in bonds in 2014 and $9.5 in 2016 to fund various water and wastewater system improvements. The County does plan on issuing revenue bonds in FY2023.
- The County has applied for a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) grant for the Little Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant
- The County received CARES and ARPA grants to assist customers with delinquent accounts.
- Provide quality, uninterrupted services by effectively managing and operating water and wastewater facilities, including water production and transmission, wastewater treatment and conveyance, and residuals disposal to meet customer demands and regulatory requirements. (Service levels 1, 2, 8, and 9)
- Effective and convenient services for all water and sewer customers by providing accurate and efficient meter readings and billing invoices while continuously managing phone call and email requests associated with Utilities Customer Service activities. (Service levels 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)
- Prioritize and implement a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to meet expansion needs, improve the distribution and collection systems, and comply with regulatory and other performance goals while managing within the constraints of the Utilities Enterprise Fund. (Service levels 10, 11, and 13)
- Continue the quality maintenance standards and repair of the water and wastewater infrastructure for the continued sustainability of the system infrastructure. (Service levels 10 and 11)
- Continue the unidirectional water system flush, along with further inspection and cleaning of the wastewater system through the Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) and Fats/Oils/Grease (FOG) programs. (Service levels 12 and 13)