Investing In Our Communities
It is no simple task to move water from rivers and reservoirs through the water treatment process to our distribution lines and tanks, and, finally your home, school or place of work. We maintain a complex infrastructure network of eight water treatment facilities, 4,200 miles of pipeline, 190 water storage tanks, 315 pumping stations, 44,500 valves and more than 9,500 fire hydrants. It also requires having the right team of experts and technologies in place, and our scientists, chemists, engineers, operators and maintenance crews are always on the job. Because we invest our dollars responsibly, we provide water at just over a penny per gallon – an exceptional value for a service that is so essential to our daily lives.
From source to tap, our commitment is to provide safe, reliable water service. That’s why we invest millions of dollars in improvement projects across our service areas each year. We can’t afford to jeopardize something so essential to our quality of life by failing to reinvest in our community’s water and wastewater infrastructure. West Virginia American Water is currently investing approximately $50 million each year to replace and upgrade water infrastructure so that you have clean, reliable, affordable water service for your everyday life, for a lifetime. Whether it’s replacing aging water mains, enhancing our treatment capabilities, improving treatment facilities or processes, expanding capacity, or installing advanced metering technology, the investments we make help ensure that we are well positioned to continue to meet customer and public safety needs in the communities we serve.
Out with the Old. In with the New.
In 2015, we completed the following large infrastructure investment projects:
• Upper Kanawha Valley Pipeline Replacement/Reinforcement – $6.7 million
Read more about our 2015 investment projects here in our 2015 Year in Review.
The Importance of Capital Investments
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that more than $335 billion in capital spending is needed nationwide by 2027 to replace aging water infrastructure and comply with stricter water quality standards. The EPA also estimated that approximately $388 billion will be needed between 2000 and 2019 to replace aging wastewater infrastructure. Furthermore, water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States received a “D” grade in the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers. We are jeopardizing our quality of life today and for future generations if we fail to properly maintain this vital infrastructure.
The Impact of Infrastructure Investment on Rates
West Virginia American Water strives to keep rates as low as possible but at times must seek rate adjustments in order to continue providing the quality, dependable service our customers deserve and expect. The main driver of our most recent rate request was the $167 million we invested in system improvements from 2012 to 2015 that were not covered in existing rates. These capital investments included upgrades to the water distribution system, water treatment facilities, storage tanks and pumping stations, and were necessary to maintain and improve water quality, reliability, fire protection and customer service for our customers.
We have more than doubled our investment in water main replacement over the past five years and reduced operations and maintenance expenses by $1.1 million during the period between our last two rate filings – demonstrating our commitment to service reliability while working diligently to keep expenses low. Under our current rates, the cost of clean, reliable water service is just over a penny per gallon, which amounts to $1.56 per day or $570 per year for the average residential customer.
Water service remains one of the lowest household utility bills. Learn more about how each dollar of your monthly water bill is allocated in our Where your Dollars Flow brochure.