Frequently Asked Questions – Speedwell Phase 1 Water Project

Frequently Asked Questions – Speedwell Phase 1 Water Project

  1. Why do we have to pay a connection fee and minimum monthly bill?

Wythe County depends upon Federal and State funding in the form of low interest loans and grants to fund water line extension projects.  The Federal & State Agency’s require Wythe County to guarantee a high percentage of the people located the service areas of newly constructed water lines to connect to the systems and pay a connection fee and at least a minimum monthly water bill.  The only way Wythe County can make such guarantee is to require a mandatory connection.

2.      Will I be required to connect to the county water system?

Any building with water service within three hundred and fifty (350) feet from a right of way containing a water main is required to pay a connection fee and minimum monthly bill.


3.      Am I being required to connect to the public water system?

The requirement is that you shall pay the connection fee and pay the minimum monthly bill.


4.      Do I have to use the water?

Use of the public water is not mandatory.  Anyone within the service area is required to pay at least the connection fee and a minimum monthly bill whether they use the water or not.


5.      Can I still use my existing well or do I have to abandon it?

Owners may use their existing well.  The water supply from the well may not be physically connected to the water supply from the public water.


6.      Do I have to have a separate connection for each residence?

Yes, each residence must have a separate connection to the public water supply unless the residences are apartments or manufactured homes within a manufactured home park.


7.   How much is the connection fee?

Normal connection fee is one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars but for new water line projects the connection fee is at a discounted rate of three hundred & fifty ($350.00) dollars for a period of ninety days after you are notified to connect.  After the ninety (90) days the full one thousand ($1,000) fee will be charged.


8.     Do I have to pay the connection fee all at once?

No, the county has a payment plan with a low interest rate.  A down payment of fifty ($50.00) dollars is required and a monthly payment of fourteen dollars & twenty-five cents ($14.25) for twenty-three months and a final payment of ten dollars & eighty two cents ($10.82).  Total cost with interest is three hundred eighty & eight dollars and fifty seven cents ($388.57).


9.  Is there a discounted rate for low income households?

Yes, qualifying low income household’s connection fee will be reduced to one hundred & fifty dollars ($150.00).  In order to qualify for the reduced connection fee, you must complete an application at the county offices.  The application should include all cash on hand, copies of all bank accounts, assets and the latest tax forms for all members of the household.  The household cannot exceed 120% of the poverty level and cannot exceed $1,500.00 of cash on hand.  A payment plan is available if needed.  A down payment of fifty dollars ($50.00) is required and a monthly payment of seventeen dollars & fifty cents ($17.50) for five (5) months and a final payment of sixteen dollars ($16.00).  A total cost with interest is one hundred & fifty three dollars & fifty cents ($153.50).


10.      When will I have to pay the connection fee?

Customers are required to pay the connection fee within ninety (90) days of being notified that the public water is available.  Connection fees may be paid prior to notification.


11.   What happens if I refuse to pay connection fee and monthly bill?

Property owners with buildings requiring water service within the water service area that do not pay the connection fee within ninety (90) days will be billed the full connection fee of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and a minimum monthly water bill of eleven ($11.00) dollars.


12.  How much is the monthly bill?

Water rates are $11.00 for the first 1,000 gallons and $9.00 per 1,000 gallons after.  Rates are set each year by the Board of Supervisors to cover actual cost of the system.


13.  How much will it cost to run the line from the meter to my house?

The price may vary based upon ground conditions and any underground utilities that they may encountered.  Please contact a contractor to receive a quote.


14.  May I install my own line?



15. How do I get existing utilities such as power, gas, telephone or cable located?

State law requires all persons excavating to call  Miss Utility of Virginia at 811. Virginia 811 is the free one call communications center for excavator, contractors and property owners planning any upcoming excavation. They will notify participating utilities of the upcoming excavation work so they can locate and mark their underground utilities in advance to prevent possible damage to underground utility lines, injury, property damage and service outages. Utilities are marked within 48 hours of calling 811.


16.    How deep should my line be buried?

Water lines are required to be at least 24 inches deep, 36 inches is preferred.


17.    Where will my meter be installed?

Meters are installed within the public right-of-way at/or near the owner’s property line.  A county

representative will work with you to locate this meter installation.


18.    How far away from my sewer system does my water line I have to be?

The water service line needs to be at least five feet from sewer distribution lines.


19.    What assurance do I have that the rate will not increase?

The Wythe County Board of Supervisors determine the water rates based on the maintenance and capital outlay cost as they develop a budget on an annual basis.  Any change requires a public hearing and notice to the public.


20.    Where will the main water line be placed?

Water lines will be placed within the public right-of-way, except where the county obtains a signed easement.


21.    How close to my house will a fire hydrant be installed?

Fire hydrants are generally installed approximately one thousand feet (1,000) apart.  Your property should have a fire hydrant within a maximum of five hundred (500) feet from your property. This may have a positive effect on home owner’s insurance policy premiums.


22.    What kind of pipe do I use?

The pipe should be a minimum of 160 psi.  The pipe may be plastic, copper or galvanized.


23.   What will my water pressure be?

Water pressure will vary by elevation.  When pressures exceed 75psi, the county will install pressure reducing valves, at the meter, that will allow pressure adjustment between 45 to 75 psi.  Pressures will be adjusted to suit customers.


24.   Are expansion tanks required?

In accordance with the statewide building code 607.3, a thermal expansion tank is required on the hot water system within the home.  Expansion tanks can be purchased at local hardware stores.


25.    Is an aerial view of the meter location and the house available?

An aerial view will be available on the county web site


26.    Where is the water coming from?

Water will be furnished from the Town of Wytheville Reed Creek Treatment Plant and the New River Regional Water Authority Plant.


27.   How can I know the water quality is trustworthy?

Water quality is tested daily at the source and monthly in the distribution systems to ensure it meets Virginia department of health standards. In addition, annual water quality reports are mailed to customers each July.

Wythe County Department of Emergency Management Recognized by the US Department of Agriculture

The Wythe County Department of Emergency Management was recognized Tuesday morning by the United States Department of Agriculture for offering “outstanding support” during the recent forest fire.

Telling the county’s Board of Supervisors that the recent fire at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area was a “fairly extraordinary event,” Ranger Beth Merz praised the county’s emergency management department for its cooperation with Forest Service officials.

On behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture, the veteran ranger presented the board with a certificate that recognized the county’s contribution, “in providing firefighter access, public information and overall incident coordination.”

“We’re grateful for the wonderful support we’ve received from Wythe County, especially the emergency management and information departments,” announced Merz.

Speaking of the fire, which grew to roughly 1,500 acres, the US Forest Service representative stated, “It’s been a really long time since anyone can remember a fire of this magnitude.”

According to the US Forest Service, law enforcement officers have identified the fire’s initial source and are in the process of conducting further investigations.

In addition to recognizing the county’s emergency management department for their cooperation, the Forest Service will also be presenting the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department with a similar award of recognition for their cooperation throughout the incident.

In addition to offering their firehouse to Forest Service firefighters for use as a base headquarters, during the fire, members of the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department and others in the community supplied firefighters with a constant stream of food and refreshments.

“The community of Speedwell was just wonderful to us. We really appreciated their help and understanding,” said Merz in closing.

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Wythe County to Host Stormwater Information Workshop

The Wythe County Engineering and Building Inspector’s Departments will be hosting an information workshop regarding new state mandated stormwater regulations.

The educational workshop is scheduled to be held Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 6p.m., inside the Wythe County Board of Supervisors Board Room.

The goal of the information meeting will be to pass along news to the public, regarding new state laws governing stormwater management.

In addition to sharing information with the citizens, county stormwater management officials will also use this time to listen to the concerns of citizens.

In compliance with Virginia law, the Wythe County Board of Supervisors will be establishing a stormwater ordinance in the coming year.

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Understand the Facts: Wythe County Motor Vehicle License Fees

In 2012, the Wythe County Board of Supervisors adopted a new ordinance regarding motor vehicle license fees and county decals. Below you will find the facts regarding the new process:
1. For calendar year 2013, the Board of Supervisors elected to keep motor vehicle decals in place. These decals will expire on December 31, 2013. This year’s county decals were sold at a reduced price, as they were set to expire at the end of the year.

2. In place of windshield decals, the county enacted a motor vehicle license fee. For calendar year 2014, the license fee will be assessed only upon all registered vehicles and will be shown on the personal property bill due by December 5, 2013.

3. For calendar year 2015, the fee will be assessed upon all vehicles “registered or titled upon the records of the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles…”

4. The license fee amount shall be $20.00 “for each and every automobile, passenger vehicle, and bus;”

$10.00 for “each and every motorcycle, motor scooter, or motor bike…”

$20.00 for “each and every truck, semi-trailer, ambulance and other similar vehicles…”

The license fee for trailers will be $10.00.

5. No county license fee shall be imposed upon antique motor vehicles for which antique license plates have been issued by the Virginia DMV.

6. Residents of the Town of Wytheville and Town of Rural Retreat are not subject to any of the above listed points.

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NWS: Hazardous Travel Conditions This Week

The National Weather Service issued a briefing Monday morning, warning Thanksgiving travelers to expect a wintery mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain.

According to the weather service, the wintery mix will change to freezing rain early Monday night / Tuesday morning.

The briefing also stated:

• Heavy rain Tuesday, greater than 2” possible.

• Snow developing Tuesday night/Wednesday, with moderate accumulations in the mountains.

• Wind gusts 40-50 MPH Wednesday.

• Impacts: Hazardous travel conditions for early Tuesday and Wednesday. Isolated power outages due to wind on Wednesday.

Emergency officials are advising residents to take these facts into consideration when determining travel plans for the holiday.

Additional information regarding winter storm preparedness may be found at , or by clicking here.

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How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

Things to do before the storm:

To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:

  • Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
    • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
    • Sand to improve traction.
    • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
    • Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
    • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
  • Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.


Things to do during the storm:

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.


Things to do after winter storm and during extreme cold:

  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.


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Wythe County Christmas Parades Schedule

Schedule of Christmas Parades in Wythe County:

Ivanhoe Christmas Parade

Saturday, November 30, 2013, at 4p.m.


Max Meadows Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 1p.m.


Wytheville Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 6p.m.


Rural Retreat Christmas Parade

Sunday, December 8, 2013, at 2p.m.


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UPDATE: National Forest Fire in Wythe County

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. — The United States Forest Service hosted a town hall meeting Friday night in Speedwell, informing the public of the fire’s scope and their progress in battling the blaze.  Click here to watch video of meeting.

Beth Merz, Area Ranger for Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, told the crowd of more than sixty residents that a fire of this magnitude was “unusual for Mount Rogers,” adding “if it hadn’t been for the willingness of a lot of folks in the Forest Service, our state partners, Wythe County, and especially our good neighbors at the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department – supporting the efforts that are going on – I don’t think we’d be very far along right now.”

Wythe County spokesperson Jeremy Farley told the audience that throughout the entire incident the county has remained in close contact with the Forest Service in order to ensure private property remains safe.

“No structures whatsoever are in any danger.  The fire is on national forest property and is no threat to private property.  That’s something we’re very grateful for,” concluded Farley, before acknowledging that smoke had been an issue for the community earlier that day.

Farley told county residents that the county was monitoring the smoke and had reached out to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality earlier that day in an effort to be proactive.

The latest briefing county officials received from the US Forest Service occurred Saturday afternoon.  In that briefing, county officials were advised that the ground fire had burned approximately 1,088 acres and is expected to burn 1,400 acres total.

Fire crews were successful in establishing a line around the entire fire on Friday, and burnout operations were conducted to eliminate unburned fuel between established lines and the fire perimeter.  Significant progress was made in eliminating this unburned fuel; however, the fire will continue to burn through the weekend.  Fire crews are continuing containment efforts today, by improving existing lines.

Approximately 70 firefighters and support staff, including one 20-person initial attack crew, one dozer, one engine, and a helicopter are assisting with the fire.

An area closure is in effect beginning with the national forest boundary east of highway 21; National forest boundary north and west of CC Camp Road; National forest boundary south of Speedwell.  Forest Road 14 is closed to the public.

Smoke from a wildfire in North Carolina has mixed with smoke from the national forest fire in Speedwell, creating an increased inversion layer throughout southwest Virginia.  This combined smoke may be visible near Speedwell and surrounding areas for several days.

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SPEEDWELL, Va. – The United States Forest Service will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the national forest fire in Wythe County’s section of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

The meeting will be held in the gymnasium of Speedwell Elementary School and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. tonight.

Officials from the U.S. Forest Service and Wythe County will present current information regarding the status of the national forest fire. All members of the public are invited to attend and a question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

As of Friday morning, U.S. Forest Service officials were stating that the 500 acre fire was approximately 15% contained.

The fire, which is located entirely on federal government land, is being worked solely by federal and state fire fighters. Local volunteer fire departments are on standby in the event that additional resources are needed and the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department’s firehouse is being used as a base of operations.

Wythe County emergency officials are remaining in constant contact with fire crews and are closely monitoring the situation, including the effects of smoke.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality advised residents with asthma and respiratory problems downwind of the smoke to remain indoors if possible.

According to the National Weather Service, Wythe County is expected to receive roughly 1/10th of an inch of rainfall this evening.

The fire is burning in steep rugged terrain, on Horse Heaven Mountain. Access to the fire remains difficult due to the remote location of the fire. Dry conditions combined with low relative humidity and an increase in winds will allow this fire to burn through the weekend. Fire crews will utilize backfiring to help with containment efforts. No structures are currently threatened at this time.

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