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Public Utilities
Customer Service Office

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Mon. - Fri.
FAX 757-397-6350


Public Utilities
From The Lakes To Your Tap: Your Water Utility System

The City’s water supply consists of four surface water reservoirs.  The City also has five deep wells for groundwater. This combination prevents us from being dependent on only one source.


Raw water is withdrawn from our lakes. Chemicals are added to the raw water and mixed to uniformly disperse throughout the water. Some of the purposes of adding these chemicals are to remove small particles and organisms, destroy odor and color, and kill bacteria. The water then goes through a contact basin, which allows the small particles to combine with the added chemicals. This forms larger, more visible particles. This process is called coagulation


This water then goes to the clarifiers, which allows the heavier suspended particles to settle out at the bottom, while the clear water moves on. This process is called sedimentation

filtration disinfection

In the filtration process, the water is passed through filters that help to remove smaller particles. In the disinfection process, sodium hypochlorite is added to kill any remaining bacteria and insure that the water will remain pure as it travels to your home. 


Once the water is treated, it is pumped through large pipelines called transmission mains. These carry the water to our storage tanks throughout the City. These reservoirs store water until it is needed by customers. Smaller pipelines called distribution mains carry water from the reservoirs to your home. At your home, water is taken from the distribution mains by a small service line. Each service line is attached to a meter to record your consumption of water. 

City of Portsmouth, Virginia · All Rights Reserved · Portsmouth City Hall · 801 Crawford Street · Portsmouth, VA 23704 · 757-393-8000