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Petersburg, Virginia Water Quality Report


Sources Of Drinking Water in Petersburg, Virginia

Where does Petersburg's water come from? The Brasfield Dam impounds portion of the Appomattox River, forming Chesdin Reservoir. The Chesdin Reservoir water storage volume estimates since 1968 are:

· 1968 As-built estimate = 12 billion gallons of water

· 2001 Recalculated 1968 as-built estimate based on 2001 Source Water Study by Gannett Fleming. This was determined from digitizing original contour maps = 10.5 billion gallons of water

· 2000 Bathymetric Survey = 9.6 billion gallons of water

· 2011 Bathymetric Survey = 9.3 billion gallons of water

Raw Water Pumping Station #1 (RWPS#1):  Raw lake water passes through a bar screen in the dam that prevents large debris from entering the pump well of the dam. Water can be taken from one of four depths of the lake: four feet, 14 feet, 24 feet, or 33 feet. Water then passes through a traveling screen that removes debris down to approximately 1/2″ in size. One or more of five pumps sends the water to the treatment plant by a 42″ water line. Potassium permanganate can be added here as a pre-oxidant.

Raw Water Pumping Station #2 (RWPS#2):  Raw water can enter the system from underwater screens at 7 feet and 20 feet. Water is pumped by a combination of five pumps (2 pumps at 20 mgd and 3 pumps at 10 mgd) to the treatment plant by a 54″ water line. Potassium permanganate can be added here as a pre-oxidant.

Chlorine Dioxide:  A feed point for chlorine dioxide addition is located immediately downstream from the Raw Water Meter for feeding chlorine dioxide as a pre-disinfectant/oxidant. Chlorine Dioxide is used to reduce TTHMs and HAAs formation in the plant.

Rapid Mix Building:  Water enters the rapid mix building and pre-feed chemicals are mixed. Lime (pH adjustment and alkalinity addition) and alum (coagulant) can be added here. The water passes through a combination of mixing chamber and is mixed by one or both of the turbine mixers.

Flocculators:  Raw water with chemicals added is sent to flocculators. All flocculators are horizontal paddles and over/under baffles. As the mixture proceeds through the three chambers of the basins, stirring is done at progressively slower speeds called step flocculation. Polymer is normally added to the water to aid in coagulation.

What is floc?

floc noun: a small, loosely aggregated mass of flocculent material, suspended in or precipitated from a liquid.

flocculent adjective: having a fluffy character or appearance.
1 : resembling wool, especially in loose, fluffy organization.
2 : containing, consisting of, or occurring in the form of loosely aggregated particles or soft flakes; a flocculent precipitate.

Coagulation or Settling Basins:  Water is distributed from the floc basins into one of twelve  settling basins. The majority of the floc created by chemical addition drops to the bottom of the basins, because of the density and weight of the floc. Sludge is removed daily by siphon from the basins using a ClariVac system. The settled water is taken off the top at the ends of the basins by weir launderers and flows into a pre-filter flume from one end of the plant to the other.

Filter Building:  Water is distributed from the settling basin flume into the filters. There are 32 filters that work in pairs, #1 – 8 (1968) capable of 2.75 mgd each, 8 filters, #9-16 (1985) capable of 3.00 mgd each, and 16 filters #17 -32 (2006) capable of 3.125 mgd. Normally filters are used at less than the maximum rate of flow. All filters have Carbon Caps which consist of 24” of Granular Activated Carbon (GAC). Filters are backwashed when the first of the following conditions occurs:

  1. 100 hours of operation since back washing,
  2. 6 feet of head loss has occurred or
  3. Turbidity =/>0.10 NTU. Normally turbidity is the controlling factor.

Pipe Gallery and Post Chemical Area:  Water from filters in operation is collected by a header pipe system in the pipe gallery and finally into a 54-inch pipe, where sodium hydroxide (pH adjustment to greater than seven), chlorine (for disinfection), phosphate (for pipe corrosion protection), and fluoride (for tooth decay protection) is added.

Post-chemical Addition:  Water leaves the plant area and is piped to a mixer where the post chemicals are added and mixed. SCADA (which is Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) control then allows a sample of water to be taken, and the proper adjustment to caustic soda, fluoride and chlorine to be made. Water goes into a clearwell (5.5 million gallons) where the required contact time with chlorine is obtained.

After leaving this clearwell, the water is sampled, additional chlorine is added, ammonia is added, and caustic soda may be added. The chlorine and ammonia mix is called chloramines, a weaker but longer-lasting disinfectant than chlorine.Water is then metered to help with the automatic chemical adjustment, and stored in two other clearwells totaling 6.5 million gallons.

Finished Water Pumping Station:  The Authority can deliver water from our clearwells to our members by gravity flow or through our pumps stations. Up to 30 mgd can be deliver by gravity flow. When additional flows are needed the Authority can pump from one of our two pumps stations on site. Finished Water Pump Station 1 has 2 pumps rate at 8 MGD and 3 pumps rated at 16 MGD. Finished Water Pump Station 2 has three pumps rated at 23 mgd. Is Petersburg's water safe to drink? Does Petersburg add fluoride to the water?

Source: City of Petersburg, VA

Contaminants Found in Petersburg's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)


3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Bromodichloromethane is one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) that formed when disinfectants, such as chlorine, are used to treat tap water. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Bromodichloromethane? Cancer, Kidney & Liver Damage. Bromodichloromethane and other disinfection byproducts increase the risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy.  In recent animal studies, the main effect of eating or drinking large amounts of Bromodichloromethane is injury to the liver and kidneys. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.


3rd party independent testing found that this water utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Chloroform, is a total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) which is formed when disinfectants are used to treat tap water. Most of the chloroform found in the environment comes from industry. Chloroform enters the environment from chemical companies and paper mills, It is also found in waste water from sewage treatment plants and drinking water to which chlorine has been added. Chlorine is added to most drinking water and many waste waters to destroy bacteria. Small amounts of chloroform are formed as an unwanted product during the process of adding chlorine to water. What are the risks of drinking tap water with chloroform? Cancer, central nervous system (brain), liver, and kidneys. Cancer of the liver and kidneys developed in rats and mice that ate food or drank water that had large amounts of chloroform in it for a long time. We do not know whether liver and kidney cancer would develop in people after long-term exposure to chloroform in drinking water. Based on animal studies, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that chloroform may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer). Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.

Chromium (Hexavalent)

3rd party independent testing found that this water utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. The movie Erin Brockovich alerted the public to the great suffering the little town of Hinkley, California experienced due to hexavalent chromium in their drinking water. Today, Hinkley is little more than a ghost town thanks to continued water contamination, health concerns, and plummeting property values. Chromium (hexavalent) is a carcinogen that commonly contaminates American drinking water. Chromium (hexavalent) in drinking water may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Chromium (hexavalent)? Cancer. A 2008 study by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, found that chromium-6 in drinking water caused cancer in laboratory rats and mice. That study and other research led scientists at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to conclude that chromium-6 can cause cancer in people. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.


3rd party independent testing found that this water utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Dibromochloromethane, one of the total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), was used in the past to make other chemicals such as fire extinguisher fluids, spray can propellants, refrigerator fluid, and pesticides. It is now only used on a small scale in laboratories. In the environment, dibromochloromethane is not found as a pure liquid, but instead, it is found either dissolved in water or evaporated into the air as a gas. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Dibromochloromethane? Liver & Kidney Damage. Animal studies indicate that long-term intake of dibromochloromethane can cause liver and kidney cancer. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.

Dichloroacetic acid

3rd party independent testing found that this water utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Dichloroacetic Acid is one of the five haloacetic acids and a member of the chloroacetic acids family. It is an essential chemical compound in medical research, especially in cancer treatment. This type of chloroacetic acid is a trace product of the process of chlorination of drinking water. Dichloroacetic Acid can get into water systems through improper disposal of waste from pharmaceutical factories. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Dichloroacetic acid? Cancer, Reproductive Issues, Child Development. Dichloroacetic Acid in drinking water may cause health problems during pregnancy, liver and kidney damage, reproductive difficulties, eyes and nerve problems, and an increased risk of getting cancer. Dichloroacetic Acid is common in municipal water since it is a trace product of the chlorination of drinking water.  Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

3rd party independent testing found that this water utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) are the result of a reaction between the chlorine used for disinfecting tap water and natural organic matter in the water. At elevated levels, TTHMs have been associated with negative health effects such as cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes. Now a study by government and academic researchers adds to previous evidence that dermal absorption and inhalation of TTHMs associated with everyday tap water use can result in significantly higher blood TTHM concentrations than simply drinking the water does. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)? Cancer. Studies from around the world, including the United States & Europe have found that drinking tap water that carries Total Trihalomethanes increases the risk of developing cancer. In animal studies, all trihalomethanes cause liver, kidney and intestinal tumors. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.

Trichloroacetic Acid

3rd party independent testing found that this utility exceeds health guidelines for this drinking water contaminant. Trichloroacetic acid will get into your drinking water when naturally-occurring organic and inorganic compounds found in the water reacts with chlorine or other disinfectants used to purify drinking water. Trichloroacetic acid is one of the group of five haloacetic acids regulated by federal standards. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Trichloroacetic acid? Cancer & Pregnancy Issues. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), individuals exposed to the compound in excess of the "Maximum Contaminant Levels" during the duration of several years are prone to an increased risk of getting cancer. Long-term exposure to the chemical will increase your chances of acquiring a tumor. Oral exposure or the drinking of contaminated water may cause problems during pregnancy. It can also cause developmental issues to the fetus. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.


There is a drinking water standard of 4 ppm for fluoride but there is no health guideline for this contaminant and much is not known about the effects of fluoride long term on the human body. This water utility did not exceed the drinking water standard for fluoride but fluoride was found in their water. Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added to drinking water by many water systems. The fluoride that is added to water is not the naturally occurring kind, the main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides” (i.e., hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate). Silicofluorides are not pharmaceutical-grade fluoride products; they are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry (Gross!). Since these silicofluorides undergo no purification procedures, they can contain elevated levels of arsenic — more so than any other water treatment chemical. In addition, recent research suggests that the addition of silicofluorides to water is a risk factor for elevated lead exposure, particularly among residents who live in homes with old pipes. What are the risks of drinking tap water with Fluoride? Unknown. A growing body of evidence reasonably indicates that fluoridated water, in addition to other sources of daily fluoride exposure, can cause or contribute to a range of serious effects, including neurological issues, arthritis, damage to the developing brain, reduced thyroid function, and possibly osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in adolescent males. Animal studies indicate a moderate level of evidence that support adverse effects on learning and memory in animals exposed to fluoride in the diet or drinking water. Find out more about this contaminant and how to remove it here.

What are the best types of filters to remove these contaminants?


Water sources can contain contaminants that impact your long term health, the taste & smell of the water and other microbiological contaminants that can actually make people sick shortly after drinking. Fortunately, there are water filtration products that remove many of the impurities from water. These filters often use activated carbon. Activated carbon is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption of contaminants or chemical reactions. Two dominant carbon filter choices are solid activated carbon blocks and granular activated carbon filters.

Filter Design

Granular activated carbon filters have loose granules of carbon that look like black grains of sand. These black grains of carbon, are dumped into a container and the water is forced to travel through the container to reach the other side, passing by all of the grains of carbon. Solid block carbon filters are blocks of compressed activated carbon that are formed with the combination of heat and pressure. These filters force the water to try to find a way through the solid wall and thousands of layers of carbon until the reach a channel which leads the water out of the filter. Both filters are made from carbon that’s ground into small particulate sizes. Solid carbon blocks are ground even further into a fine mesh 7 to 19 times smaller than the granular activated carbon filters.

Flow Channels & Less Contact Time 

As water continually pass through Granular Activated Carbon filters, flow channels begin to develop that allows the water to flow around the carbon. Flow channels also develop between the granules, leading to less effective filtration as there’s less contact between the water and carbon. Solid carbon blocks are much tighter and won’t even let through microbial cysts like giardia and cryptosporidium (7 to 10 Microns in size). However, solid carbon block filters are so tight that they can often get plugged up with organic & non-organic matter, forcing owners to replace them on a more regular basis. This is why when you are using a Brita water pitcher filter (granular activated carbon), the filter will keep going and going long after it has stopped removing any water contaminants. 

Carbon Block vs Granulated Activated Carbon 

The granular activated carbon filters are cheap and simple to manufacture, which is why most water filtration companies choose this method for manufacturing (ex: Brita, Woder). Solid Carbon Block Filters on the other hand take longer to manufacture and are more expensive but with this expense, you get superior contaminant removal because the water must take a tortured path through thousands of layers of compressed carbon before it reaches your drinking glass.

Better Filtration

The solid carbon block filters, like the one used in the Epic Smart Shield & Epic Water Filter pitchers, remove more contaminants than the granular activated carbon filters due to the larger surface area and the tighter filters, this is why Epic Water Filters has standardized on the solid carbon block design for our water pitchers and our under the sink water filter. Unfortunately, granular activated carbon filters do not do enough to reduce contaminants, this is why they are not used when there is a chance of bacteria or cysts in the water. They are truly not "Epic" so that is why we have passed on this design and let our competitors like Woder, Brita, Pur, and Invigorated Water use these loose packed carbon filters for sub-par contaminant removal.

Solid carbon block filters, on the other hand, have millions and millions of different sized pores that cause the water to take a long slow path to get through the filter, increasing the contact time that the contaminated water has with the carbon. During this contact time is when contaminants adhere to the carbon and are removed from water. This happens during a process called adsorption, the other filtration method that carbon blocks use is called depth filtration where the thickness of the filter comes into play to help remove contaminants as they have to pass through this carbon walls. 

With solid carbon block filters the contaminants are in contact with more carbon for a longer period and therefore have more time to remove stubborn contaminants like lead (Epic Pure Pitcher 99.9% removal), fluoride (Epic Pure Pitcher 97.8% removal), and PFCs (Epic Pure Pitcher 99.8% removal). Carbon blocks can remove chlorine more effectively, eliminate undesirable odors, and removal of endocrine disruptors like volatile organic compounds. Granular activated carbon filters, on the other hand, have small particles that move around under the pressure of water so they do not have as much uniformity throughout and therefore less contact time with the water and less contaminant removal. 

What about Reverse Osmosis? 

RO filters are good at contaminant removal. The downside of RO is that it wastes a lot of water. Each RO system wastes an average of 5 to 6 gallons for every gallon it produces of drinking water. Also RO systems remove trace minerals and other beneficial substances found in water that your body needs (calcium, manganese, iron and other important nutrients). This is why RO water is considered by many in the natural health world to be dead water and it is said that demineralized water is detrimental to general health due to vitamin and mineral depletion. The last downside of RO systems is that after your water passes through the filter process, it sits inside of steel drum that is lined with a butyl rubber bladder which is made from polyisobutylene. The filtered water sits in this butyl rubber bladder until it is used. All rubber and plastic containers leach into water at some level. Carbon block filters do not have these issues. 


Epic Pure Pitcher

April Jones

A Colorado based hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...

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