Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Better Know a Reservoir: Sugar Hollow

Sugar Hollow Reservoir
Photo credit: Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority
Guess who’s turning seventy this year! Sugar Hollow Reservoir, built in 1947, draws from the pristine mountain waters of Shenandoah National Park in the northwest portion of Albemarle County. From Sugar Hollow, water flows through a 13-mile pipeline to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and on to the Observatory Water Treatment Plant providing water to the University community as well as ACSA customers near and west of the US Rt. 250 Bypass.

When is a lake actually a reservoir? Reservoirs are man-made lakes created by building a dam. They store water that is later treated for domestic use.

Water spilling over the dam flows into the Moormans River which is a tributary to the South Fork Rivanna River. These three interconnected reservoirs act as one system to adequately provide the drinking water for our urban area now and in the future.

Sugar Hollow Reservoir is stocked with rainbow and brook trout as part of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ “put-n-take” trout. 

Every year, from October to June, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stocks over 1.2 million catchable-size trout across the Commonwealth. Sugar Hollow’s cold, clean, and pure waters are great spawning grounds for this popular and delicious fish which can grow to as much as 16 inches long and 40 pounds in weight. Also lurking beneath the rocks and crevices of the reservoir are the prized Brook Trout which has provided the grist for many a “fish story”.

Sugar Hollow Reservoir Fast Facts
Useable volume:
324 million gallons
Surface area:
47 acres
Watershed area:
18 square miles

Want to learn more about local reservoirs? Read the Reservoir Water Quality and Management Study: A First Look from Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority.

Photo credit: Andrew Shurtleff 

Monday, December 5, 2016

How to Prevent FOG Clog

Albemarle County Service Authority blog, how to prevent fats, oils, and grease clogs

Everyone gains a little fat over the holidays—just don’t clog your drain with it.

What is FOG?

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) make the holidays taste extra special—after all, what is Christmas dinner without gravy? FOG products include fatty foods (butter, shortening, dairy products, meat fat, etc.), cooking oils (peanut, vegetable, olive, soybean, corn, coconut, sesame, salad dressing, etc.), and the substances left behind after cooking, such as greasy scraps and pan drippings.

What happens when FOG goes down the drain?

FOG can clog your home plumbing and cause sewer overflows in your home and neighborhood. When FOG collects on pumps and hardens in pipes, it can cause waste water to flow out of manholes and possibly onto streets.

How to Properly Dispose of FOG

Be nice to your pipes this holiday season by keeping fats, oils and grease out of your drains. Here are 3 easy steps to avoid clogging your pipes:

1. Scrape

Deposit cooled fat, oil, grease or food residue into a separate container where it can congeal. Wipe out the remaining residual fats, oils, and grease with a paper towel before washing.

2. Store

Store used grease, oils, fats, and food residues in the freezer.
Mason jars, Tupperware, disposable containers—these common household items make excellent FOG containers. For even simpler FOG storage, seal a used and empty food can with a 3-Step Lid™ (available for free from Albemarle County Service Authority). The 3-Step Lid™ fastens over most cans, from 3 oz. to larger family sizes, sealing the grease inside. The can is then stored in the freezer until the grease is frozen solid. The reusable lid is removed and saved for future use, while the can of grease can be placed in the trash.

3.  Dispose

Once your FOG container is full, simply scrape out the frozen FOG into the garbage.

Prevent fats, oils, and grease from damaging your home and the environment. For more information on FOG, visit www.serviceauthority.org/fog.html

Monday, November 7, 2016

They SAY they’re from the Water Authority…but are they?

Somebody knocks on your door claiming to represent the water company. How can you tell an impersonator from the real thing? We’ve put together some information to help you keep safe.

1.      Do not open your door.

Meters are read electronically. Anybody who identifies him or herself as a “meter reader” is automatically suspect. Even in the event of a water main breakage or other emergency, repair work is conducted outdoors. There is no reason anybody from ACSA needs to enter your home.

      2.      Don’t let the props fool you.

Anybody can buy a uniform on the Internet and create a bogus photo ID. Imposters may even have a hand held radio and point to a vehicle made to look like a utility truck. If you are at all unsure about who is knocking, you can simply choose not to open your door. Call ACSA immediately if you have questions or doubts about the identity of a person claiming to be an ACSA representative.

3.      Never pay money to “settle a bill” or to avoid having your water turned off.

Under no circumstances will any utility (or most businesses) demand cash payment in person.  Impersonators have been known to produce fake computer printouts showing supposed usage and unpaid balances. Asking for money for services or claiming that your water will be turned off without immediate payment are clear signs of a scam. If you are in any doubt about the status of your account, contact ACSA directly.

4.      Clean up your paper trail.

Your trash is a scammer’s treasure. Once you have paid a bill, file it away safely or shred or otherwise destroy it. Criminals can use information they find on discarded bills and other personal papers to convince you that they know details about your account…or, worse still, to steal your identity.  Viewing your bill online and setting up auto pay from your bank account are safe ways to minimize this risk.

5.      Immediately report your experience to ACSA and the police.

Scammers generally prey on the elderly, the homebound, or people living alone—but anybody can be taken in! Many victims of scams are embarrassed to admit that they have been fooled. Your experience can become a warning to others. By reporting suspicious activity, you provide police and ACSA with vital information that may prevent others from being similarly victimized.