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EPA in Virginia

Town Flush with Benefits from New Water System

Stories of Progress in Achieving Healthy Waters

U.S. EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division

Glasgow, Virginia • December 3, 2015

An EPA-funded project to replace the aging and undersized water lines in a small Virginia town has transformed the community – providing major cost savings, improved water quality and greater public safety, while eliminating leaks that drained half of the town’s water production.

“This has been a real godsend to our town,” said Bill Rolfe, Glasgow town manager. “This is a generational water improvement project.”

EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) provided $3.3 million, primarily a low-interest loan, to the Town of Glasgow to create a new water distribution system, replacing the leaky, ill-sized pipes that allowed 50 percent of the water to escape and offered inadequate pressure for firefighting and other needs.

According to Rolfe, water use and production are down more than 3 million gallons a month as a result of the improvements, reducing the costs of energy to pump the water and chemicals to treat it. “Operationally, it saves us a lot of time, cost, labor and money,” he said, noting that the town has only six municipal employees. “We were continually going out and making repairs to the water system.”

The project also involved installing water meters for residents and businesses, enabling the town for the first time to send out water bills and record actual water usage. The town has been charging a flat fee for water and recording the payment on 3x5 index cards when customers came in to settle up.

The more than year-long project, substantially completed in November 2015, benefits the town’s entire service area of 568 residential connections with more than 1,130 residents and 10 commercial/industrial connections. The project provides a distribution system with increased accountability and reliability.

The work involved the installation of 30,010 linear feet of new water lines throughout the town. New and repositioned fire hydrants were linked to proper-sized water lines, and the main line to the water storage tank was increased in size and strength, increasing the flow. “It has greatly improved our fire protection system,” Rolfe said, adding that it may have a positive impact on homeowner insurance policies. The project also featured a gas chlorination system, a monitoring system for the town’s two wells and storage tank, and building improvements. EPA's DWSRF program provided funding in the amount of $3,302,957 – 85 percent in low-interest loan funds ($2,807,500) and 15 percent principal forgiveness ($495,457).

Map of Virginia highlighting the location of Glasgow

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  • Town Flush with Benefits from New Water System (PDF)(1 pg, 651 K, 12/03/2015)
    An EPA-funded project to replace the aging and undersized water lines in a small Virginia town has transformed the community – providing major cost savings, improved water quality and greater public safety, while eliminating leaks that drained half of the town’s water production.