Water Treatment 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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

Observatory Water Treatment Plant