Having adequate public infrastructure is important to the effective and efficient delivery of services to the public. The acquisition, construction, expansion, maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrading of infrastructure results in a major demand on the financial resources of any government that must be planned for in advance and must be comprehensive. For these reasons, Virginia Beach annually develops a six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to define needs, set priorities, plan funding and anticipate impacts of proposed capital projects on the operating budget of the government.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Public Utilities will initiate a fourth year of phased sewer rate increases to support the capital investment and operational impacts of complying with the regional consent order. The combined water and sewer rates were established to support a $40 million annual capital improvement program that is supported by a combination of pay-as-you-go funding, net assets of the utility fund, and utility bonds. Additional information can be found in the Department of Public Utilities’ section of the City’s FY 2014-15 operating budget and in the Water and Sewer sections of the Capital Improvement Program.




​USGS Groundwater Study

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities, began a cooperative study of the shallow aquifer system in 1996. The purpose of the Virginia Beach shallow aquifer study is to better understand the distribution of fresh ground water, its susceptibility to contamination, and its sustainability as a long-term water supply.

 Smoke Testing


Public Utilities has contracted with Hydrostructures to conduct testing and surveying of the City's sanitary sewer system. You may notice Hydrostructures crews in your neighborhood. In an effort to locate defects in the sanitary sewer system, they will be performing smoke testing, manhole inspections, dye testing, night flow evaluations and CCTV inspections of the public sewer system in streets and easements. In areas where the crews will be working, notices will be left at residences and businesses several days prior. Your presence is not required during the work.

Don't be alarmed if you see smoke rising from manholes in the street or from the ground. Where there's smoke, there's not always fire. Sanitary sewer pipes run under the ground, so it's not easy to determine if one needs to be repaired. Smoke testing is a procedure used to detect leaks in plumbing and sanitary sewer systems. Smoke testing involves forcing HARMLESS smoke into the sanitary sewer system through manholes. The smoke is NON-TOXIC, CLEAN, HARMLESS TO HUMANS, PETS, FOOD AND MATERIAL GOODS, and  CREATES NO FIRE HAZARD. Please review the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the Hurco Liquid Smoke and the Lubspar Oil Smoke that are used during testing. 

During testing, plumes of smoke form where there are potential defects in the sanitary sewer system. By watching to see where smoke escapes, crews can identify problem areas in the pipes for further sanitary sewer investigation techniques. Smoke may be seen coming from manhole covers, storm inlets, or holes in the ground. On occasion, smoke may be seen coming from building foundations or roof vent stacks. However, the smoke should not enter your home or business unless you have defective plumbing or dried-up drain traps. If you have any seldom used drains, pouring water into the drain to fill the trap will help prevent sewer gases or odors and smoke from entering your home or business.​ All public safety authorities have been notified. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Smoke Testing

Current Smoke Testing Schedule

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Cameron Carpenter or Katherine Nixon, P.E at 385-4171. ​

 Root Control

Sanitary Sewer Root Control


The Department of Public Utilities has contracted with Duke’s Root Control to treat root growth within the City’s sanitary sewer collection system. The work will be performed throughout the City where roots have obstructed the sewer flow creating the potential for sewer backups and overflows. This work is in keeping with the mission of the Department of Public Utilities to maintain its facilities to meet community needs, environmental responsibilities and regulatory requirements. During the project you may notice construction equipment, noise, traffic, and/or work on property within the City right-of-way or utility easements. Please understand that every effort will be made to minimize any disturbances.

Work will be performed from 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. To see if your neighborhood is scheduled to be treated please review our Scheduled Neighborhoods for Treatment list. Your presence is not required during the work, but if you have a manhole on your property, please keep the area clear and your pets contained. The total time spent at each location should not exceed 30 minutes.

In the unlikely event that foam appears in your tubs, toilets, or floor drains, call the contractor for cleanup instructions. Do not touch the foam until you have received instructions. For this or any other questions, you may call:

​Duke's Root Control Contractor

John Fletcher​

(757) 635-​​4017​

Public Utilities Project Manager​

Katherine Nixon, P.E.​

(757) 385-4171​


Meter Testing and Replacement​

Water meters are used to accurately measure and bill for water consumption. Meters lose accuracy over time due to wear and tear and normally result in under-billing. In order to collect all revenue and provide equitable service to all our customers, the Department of Public Utilities replaces meters on a fifteen-year interval. The program is on going. The replacement interval is determined by optimizing the replacement and maintenance costs with lost revenue. It is also consistent with industry-wide studies and practices.

Public Utilities tests a random sample of old meters to confirm the replacement interval. As a result of the program, we recover approximately $57.00 per meter per year. Depending on the number of meters replaced, we recover as much as $350,000 per year.

The Department tests large meters in-place without disruption to its customers. Large meters usually have a by-pass installed so that service is maintained while the meter is being tested. The meter can be repaired, or replaced, without the need for a service interruption as well.

This program insures accurate and equitable service by ensuring that each customer is paying for the correct amount of water used.

If you have questions, please call the Department of Public Utilities at 385-4631, Monday through Friday, 8:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (TTY: 711).  Main office phone is 385-1400 and fax is 437-6363.

​Emergencies - Nights - Weekends - Holidays call 311 or 385-3111 (TTY: Please call 911)


​This page is for Public Meetings to give more information to the public about projects that are going to happen in their area of the City.

Contact Information