Water Treatment Plants and Process

Beaker of Water


Rivanna is dedicated to providing reliable, clean, safe drinking water for our community, now and in the future.

But before it gets to your house, it takes highly skilled, trained, and licensed professionals working around the clock to ensure things like consistent pressure, high-quality taste, and reliability.

Brian at the South Fork Water Treatment Plant Photo/Andrew Shurtleff

Brian at the South Rivanna Water Treatment Plant (photo:Andrew Shurtleff)

We operate five drinking water treatment plants with a combined nominal capacity of 23.0 million gallons per day (MGD).

  1. Crozet Water Treatment Plant
  2. North Rivanna Water Treatment Plant
  3. Observatory Water Treatment Plant
  4. Scottsville Water Treatment Plant
  5. South Rivanna Water Treatment Plant

The effective maximum day operating capacity, taking into account operating goals and system constraints, is 18.7 MGD. The safe yield of our water supply is currently estimated at 19 MGD.  Through our five treated water pump stations and 67 miles of water transmission pipes water flows to the City of Charlottesville and/or the Albemarle County Service Authority’s municipal water distribution systems.

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority operations at the South Fork facility in Charlottesville, Va. . Photo/Andrew Shurtleff

Konrad and Andrea taking water samples (photo: Andrew Shurtleff)

Water Sources
Raw water from our reservoirs and rivers is pumped into the water treatment plants.

Once it arrives at the plant, the water is treated with coagulant, the pH is adjusted and water is rapidly mixed together to help disperse the coagulant. After the rapid mixing process, the water flows into flocculation basins, where the flow of water is slowed and slowly mixed so that the particulates stick together to form bigger particles called floc.

Next, the water flows into sedimentation basins, where the heavy floc particles sink to the bottom and are removed.

The water flows through large filters made of sand and anthracite coal. Filtration removes particles and microorganisms.

All of our treatment plants use Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) adsorption filters, a gold standard when it comes to water treatment to further increase our water quality.

Monitoring oxygen levels at South Fork Reservoir Photo/Andrew Shurtleff

Monitoring oxygen levels at South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (photo: Andrew Shurtleff)

We use chlorine to disinfect the water, and a residual level of chlorine is maintained throughout the distribution system as a protective barrier against microbial contamination.

Final Treatment
After chlorine disinfection, the pH of the water is adjusted and a corrosion inhibitor is added to minimize corrosion of the distribution system piping, and a low level of fluoride (0.7 mg/L, or ppm) is added to support good dental health.