Water and Wastewater 101

About Arlington County Water and Wastewater Utilities

Arlington County provides its customers with high quality, efficient and reliable potable water and wastewater services. The County's Utilities Fund was created as a self-sustaining, fee-based enterprise fund to support and maintain development of the County’s water and wastewater system infrastructure. Revenues received in the Utilities Fund can only be utilized for the provision of water and wastewater services.

Arlington County's Water and Wastewater Treatment Process

Where your water comes from.
Arlington’s drinking water, along with Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. is sourced from the Potomac River through the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Washington Aqueduct.

How your water is treated.
The Washington Aqueduct’s Dalecarlia Treatment Plant, near the Potomac River in Washington D.C., treats up to 220 million gallons of water per day. Arlington’s drinking water is excellent and meets or exceeds all federal EPA standards.

Delivering clean, fresh water to your tap.
Treated water is pumped from the Dalecarlia Treatment Plant in Washington D.C. across the river to Arlington through a network of approximately 525 miles of pipeline to homes and businesses.

Treating Arlington's wastewater.
After water is used, it is collected through the sanitary sewer collection system and transported to Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant. Wastewater is treated there protecting the safety of our public health and environment. After treatment, it is returned to Four Mile Run, which then flows to the Potomac River and into the Chesapeake Bay.

Maintaining our systems.
The County maintains over 525 miles of water mains and about 465 miles of sanitary sewer.

Infographic of Arlington County's Water and Wastewater Treatment Process

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Arlington's Three Water Systems

The County maintains three distinct water systems: Drinking Water, Wastewater and Stormwater. It is important to note that the scope of the Utility Rate Study does not include the stormwater system.

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More About Rates

Rate Structure

Potable water and wastewater services are funded through rates recovered from users. Our rate structure follows industry-standard rate-setting methodologies and is periodically reviewed to ensure we are equitably recovering the full cost of operating our systems. Our current rates for water and wastewater services are based solely on the amount of water used. For water, usage is measured using a water meter that is installed adjacent to each residence or business. For wastewater, charges are based on the amount of water used as determined by the water meter readings.

In 2019, average household water consumption was 60,000 gallons per year, equating to a combined water and wastewater bill of $817 per year, or $204 quarterly at the combined FY 2019 water and wastewater rate of $13.62 per thousand gallons.

To view the County’s current rates and to learn more, visit the Water & Utilities page.

What Do Rates Pay For?

Our rates pay for:

  • Potable water supply, which is purchased from the Washington Aqueduct
  • Wastewater treatment, which is performed at Arlington's Water Pollution Control Plant
  • Operation and maintenance of our distribution, collection and treatment systems
  • Infrastructure renewal, rehabilitation and replacement
  • Customer service and administrative costs

County Resources

To Learn More About the Study:

Water and Wastewater Utility Rate Study Project Page

To Learn More About the County’s Water and Wastewater Treatment

Water & Utilities Website