Arlington County’s drinking water source is the Potomac River. The water is treated to meet or exceed all water quality standards at the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant by the Washington Aqueduct Division, an agency of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Treated water is pumped from the Dalecarlia plant in Washington, D.C. to Arlington County, where it is conveyed via a network of approximately 485 miles of pipeline to the homes and businesses in the County. In addition to the pipelines, the water distribution system includes approximately 13,000 valves, 3,500 fire hydrants, and 36,000 water service connections. Typical daily water consumption for our customers is approximately 28 million gallons a day (MGD), with a peak approaching 40 MGD on the hottest summer days.
The Water/Sewer/Streets (WSS) Bureau of DES is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the water distribution system. Our water maintenance crews are responsible for construction of new or replacement water mains, repair of damaged mains, and installation of new water services. Valve crews maintain and operate the water valves and fire hydrants. The meter crews read, test, install, and repair water meters. The Water Control Center is the nerve center of the water distribution system. Here, our water operators monitor the status of our facilities, ensure that the system is operating efficiently, and respond to after-hour emergencies.
A minimum of 120 water samples are collected monthly from throughout the County and are analyzed for various parameters to ensure that the water delivered to our customers is of the highest quality. Arlington County has a long history of remaining in compliance with all federal and state water quality requirements. Read the most recent water quality report(s).
The Arlington County water distribution system is operated from the Water Control Center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Operators at the control center control the many pumps and valves which allow the system to deliver water to your home. Among the facilities which are operated and monitored by our staff are 3 water storage facilities comprising 32 million gallons, 5 pumping stations, and 12 pressure monitoring sites dispersed throughout the County.
There are many maintenance programs which serve to prolong the life and productivity of our numerous facilities. These include a distribution valve maintenance program, large valve maintenance program, fire hydrant maintenance program, fire hydrant painting, water main cleaning and lining, and annual water main flushing.
Winter is the prime season for water main breaks. The freeze-thaw cycle causes the soil to heave and swell, which exerts pressure upon water mains and can sometimes cause the main to separate at joints or at valves, service connections, or other fittings. Sometimes the freeze-thaw pressures can actually cause the pipe to split. When a main ruptures, the pressure in the water distribution system will typically force the water upwards through the soil until it emerges from the pavement or surrounding ground. Some main breaks can still occur in the summertime, and are also indicated by water emerging from the pavement. Our water main maintenance crews often are called from their homes to work many cold nights excavating and repairing water mains. It is a difficult job which they perform well. If you suspect a main break, please call our water control center at 703-228-6555.
24-hour Emergency Phone Number.....................703-228-6555
Billing & Customer service ...........................703-228-6570
Water Conservation Tips
Water is a precious resource, and the water must be treated extensively prior to human use. Therefore, it is important to conserve water. Here are some water conservation tips.