Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
9/20/2019

Article 2. General Provisions for Public Utilities.

§ 15.2-2109. Powers of localities as to public utilities and computer services; prevention of pollution of certain water.

A. Any locality may (i) acquire or otherwise obtain control of or (ii) establish, maintain, operate, extend and enlarge: waterworks, sewerage, gas works (natural or manufactured), electric plants, public mass transportation systems, stormwater management systems and other public utilities within or outside the limits of the locality and may acquire within or outside its limits in accordance with § 15.2-1800 whatever land may be necessary for acquiring, locating, establishing, maintaining, operating, extending or enlarging waterworks, sewerage, gas works (natural or manufactured), electric plants, public mass transportation systems, stormwater management systems and other public utilities, and the rights-of-way, rails, pipes, poles, conduits or wires connected therewith, or any of the fixtures or appurtenances thereof. As required by subsection C of § 15.2-1800, this section expressly authorizes a county to acquire real property for a public use outside its boundaries.

The locality may also prevent the pollution of water and injury to waterworks for which purpose its jurisdiction shall extend to five miles beyond the locality. It may make, erect and construct, within or near its boundaries, drains, sewers and public ducts and acquire within or outside the locality in accordance with § 15.2-1800 so much land as may be necessary to make, erect, construct, operate and maintain any of the works or plants mentioned in this section.

In the exercise of the powers granted by this section, localities shall be subject to the provisions of § 25.1-102 to the same extent as are corporations. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to confer upon any locality the power of eminent domain with respect to any public utility owned or operated by any other political subdivision of this Commonwealth. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to exempt localities from the provisions of Chapters 20 (§ 46.2-2000 et seq.), 22 (§ 46.2-2200 et seq.) and 23 (§ 46.2-2300 et seq.) of Title 46.2.

B. A locality may not (i) acquire all of a public utility's facilities, equipment or appurtenances for the production, transmission or distribution of natural or manufactured gas, or of electric power, within the limits of such locality or (ii) take over or displace, in whole or in part, the utility services provided by such gas or electric public utility to customers within the limits of such locality until after the acquisition is authorized by a majority of the voters voting in a referendum held in accordance with the provisions of Article 5 (§ 24.2-681 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 24.2 in such locality on the question of whether or not such facilities, equipment or appurtenances should be acquired or such services should be taken over or displaced; however, the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the use of energy generated from landfill gas in the City of Lynchburg or Fairfax County. In no event, however, shall a locality be required to hold a referendum in order to provide gas or electric service to its own facilities. Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection, a locality may acquire public utility facilities or provide services to customers of a public utility with the consent of the public utility. No city or town which provided electric service as of January 1, 1994, shall be required to hold such a referendum prior to the acquisition of a public utility's facilities, equipment or appurtenances used for the production, transmission or distribution of electric power or to the provision of services to customers of a public utility. Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to (a) create a property right or property interest or (b) affect or impair any existing property right or property interest of a public utility.

C. The City of Bristol is authorized to provide computer services as defined in § 18.2-152.2. "Computer services" as used in this section shall specifically not include the communications link between the host computer and any person or entity other than (i) such locality's departments, offices, boards, commissions, agencies or other governmental divisions or entities or (ii) an adjoining locality's departments, offices, boards, commissions, agencies or other governmental divisions or entities.

Code 1950, § 15-715; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-292; 1970, c. 565; 1980, c. 483; 1994, c. 634; 1996, c. 384; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 663; 2003, c. 940; 2007, c. 813.

§ 15.2-2109.1. Prescriptive easements for provision of water and sewer services.

In an action to establish a prescriptive easement involving the provision of water and sewer services, a political subdivision shall demonstrate that the use has continued for a period of at least ten years. This section shall not affect any other requirement which may be necessary to establish a prescriptive easement.

1997, c. 416, § 15.1-292.01.

§ 15.2-2109.2. Mutual aid agreements for power and natural gas.

Localities may enter into mutual aid agreements with investor-owned public utilities, electric cooperatives and interstate natural gas companies in order to prepare for, prevent, and restore power and natural gas outages and failures. Such authority shall include, without limitation, the power to enter into agreements relating to (i) contingency plans, (ii) emergency communications, (iii) sharing of resources and personnel, and (iv) system upgrades, maintenance, and repair.

2004, c. 693.

§ 15.2-2109.3. Provision of natural gas distribution service within counties.

Any municipal corporation or public service authority created under the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act (§ 15.2-5100 et seq.) shall have the authority:

1. To purchase natural gas for resale within an area as described in subdivision 2 from any public utility that is certificated to provide natural gas distribution service within the Commonwealth, on such terms and conditions as the parties to such sale may agree;

2. To provide natural gas distribution service within any underserved area or county that is adjacent to the boundaries of the municipal corporation or any political subdivision that is a member of the public service authority, as applicable, provided that the area is not within the certificated territory assigned to a public utility for the provision of natural gas service, upon notifying the State Corporation Commission of its commitment to provide such service in such areas. The municipality or public service authority shall not be required to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the State Corporation Commission as a condition to providing natural gas distribution service within any such area; and

3. Upon notifying the State Corporation Commission of its commitment to provide natural gas distribution service in such areas as described in subdivision 2, to exercise the same rights that a public service authority established pursuant to the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act (§ 15.2-5100 et seq.) has to acquire, purchase, lease as lessee, construct, reconstruct, improve, extend, operate, and maintain any lines, pipelines, or other improvements necessary or appropriate for the provision of any stormwater control system or water or waste system or any combination of such systems under § 15.2-5114, except that such powers, including the powers to acquire by gift, purchase, or the exercise of the right of eminent domain lands or rights in land or water rights in connection therewith, except that such powers shall apply to the provision of natural gas distribution service, mutatis mutandis.

2009, c. 749.

§ 15.2-2110. Mandatory connection to water and sewage systems in certain counties.

A. Amelia, Botetourt, Campbell, Cumberland, Franklin, Halifax, and Nelson Counties may require connection to their water and sewage systems by owners of property that may be served by such systems; however, those persons having a domestic supply or source of potable water and a system for the disposal of sewage adequate to prevent the contraction or spread of infectious, contagious, and dangerous diseases shall not be required to discontinue use of the same, but may be required to pay a connection fee, a front footage fee, and a monthly nonuser service charge that shall not be more than that proportion of a minimum monthly user charge as debt service compares to the total operating and debt service costs.

B. Bland County, Goochland County, Powhatan County, Rockingham County, Smyth County, and Wythe County may require connection to their water and sewer systems by owners of property that can be served by the systems if the property, at the time of installation of such public system, or at a future time, does not have a then-existing, correctable, or replaceable domestic supply or source of potable water and a then-existing, correctable, or replaceable system for the disposal of sewage adequate to prevent the contraction or spread of infectious, contagious, and dangerous diseases. Such county may not charge a fee for connection to its water and sewer systems until such time as connection is required. However, Bland County, Smyth County, and Wythe County, in assuming the obligations of a public service authority, may assume such obligations under the same terms and conditions as applicable to the public service authority.

The provisions of this subsection as they apply to Goochland County shall become effective on July 1, 2002.

C. Buckingham County may require connection to its water and sewer systems by owners of property that can be served by the systems if the property, at the time of installation of such public system, or at a future time, does not have a then-existing or correctable domestic supply or source of potable water and a then-existing or correctable system for the disposal of sewage adequate to prevent the contraction or spread of infectious, contagious, and dangerous diseases. Such county may not charge a fee for connection to its water and sewer systems until such time as connection is required.

1981, c. 44, § 15.1-292.1; 1990, c. 382; 1995, c. 282, § 15.1-292.1:1; 1996, c. 955; 1997, c. 587; 2000, cc. 777, 799; 2001, cc. 306, 326; 2002, c. 295; 2003, cc. 167, 215; 2004, cc. 24, 712, 816; 2005, c. 701; 2018, c. 309.

§ 15.2-2111. Regulation of sewage disposal or water service.

Any locality may exercise its powers to regulate sewage collection, treatment or disposal service and water service notwithstanding any anticompetitive effect. Such regulation may include the establishment of an exclusive service area for any sewage or water system, including a system owned or operated by the locality, the fixing of rates or charges for any sewage or water service, and the prohibition, restriction or regulation of competition between entities providing sewage or water service.

No power herein granted shall alter or amend the powers or the duties of any present or future authority created pursuant to the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act (§ 15.2-5100 et seq.) nor confer any right or responsibility upon the governing body of any locality which would supersede or be inconsistent with any of the duties or responsibilities of the State Water Control Board.

1984, c. 525, § 15.1-292.2; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2112. Agreements by political subdivisions for sewage or water service.

Any two or more localities, authorities, sanitary districts or other public entities may enter into agreements or contracts that create one or more exclusive service areas for the provision of sewage or water service, that fix the rates or charges for any sewage or water service provided separately or jointly by such entities, and that restrict or eliminate competition between or among such entities and any other public entity for the provision of sewage or water service.

1985, c. 6, § 15.1-306.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2113. Connections of fire suppression systems.

Any locality, by ordinance, may require local water utilities to allow connections of fire suppression systems to the water supply. Such ordinances may prohibit any requirement for installing water meters on a fire suppression system, may prohibit charging an availability fee to provide water service to such fire suppression systems, and may prohibit connection charges exceeding the actual cost of connecting the water supply to the fire suppression system.

1991, c. 265, § 15.1-292.3; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2114. Regulation of stormwater.

A. Any locality, by ordinance, may establish a utility or enact a system of service charges to support a local stormwater management program consistent with Article 2.3 (§ 62.1-44.15:24 et seq.) of Chapter 3.1 of Title 62.1 or any other state or federal regulation governing stormwater management. Income derived from a utility or system of charges shall be dedicated special revenue, may not exceed the actual costs incurred by a locality operating under the provisions of this section, and may be used only to pay or recover costs for the following:

1. The acquisition, as permitted by § 15.2-1800, of real and personal property, and interest therein, necessary to construct, operate and maintain stormwater control facilities;

2. The cost of administration of such programs;

3. Planning, design, engineering, construction, and debt retirement for new facilities and enlargement or improvement of existing facilities, including the enlargement or improvement of dams, levees, floodwalls, and pump stations, whether publicly or privately owned, that serve to control stormwater;

4. Facility operation and maintenance, including the maintenance of dams, levees, floodwalls, and pump stations, whether publicly or privately owned, that serve to control stormwater;

5. Monitoring of stormwater control devices and ambient water quality monitoring;

6. Contracts related to stormwater management, including contracts for the financing, construction, operation, or maintenance of stormwater management facilities, regardless of whether such facilities are located on public or private property and, in the case of private property locations, whether the contract is entered into pursuant to a stormwater management private property program under subsection J or otherwise; and

7. Other activities consistent with the state or federal regulations or permits governing stormwater management, including, but not limited to, public education, watershed planning, inspection and enforcement activities, and pollution prevention planning and implementation.

B. The charges may be assessed to property owners or occupants, including condominium unit owners or tenants (when the tenant is the party to whom the water and sewer service is billed), and shall be based upon an analysis that demonstrates the rational relationship between the amount charged and the services provided. Prior to adopting such a system, a public hearing shall be held after giving notice as required by charter or by publishing a descriptive notice once a week for two successive weeks prior to adoption in a newspaper with a general circulation in the locality. The second publication shall not be sooner than one calendar week after the first publication. However, prior to adoption of any ordinance pursuant to this section related to the enlargement, improvement, or maintenance of privately owned dams, a locality shall comply with the notice provisions of § 15.2-1427 and hold a public hearing.

C. A locality adopting such a system shall provide for full waivers of charges to the following:

1. A federal, state, or local government, or public entity, that holds a permit to discharge stormwater from a municipal separate storm sewer system, except that the waiver of charges shall apply only to property covered by any such permit; and

2. Public roads and street rights-of-way that are owned and maintained by state or local agencies, including property rights-of-way acquired through the acquisitions process.

D. A locality adopting such a system shall provide for full or partial waivers of charges to any person who installs, operates, and maintains a stormwater management facility that achieves a permanent reduction in stormwater flow or pollutant loadings or other such other facility, system, or practice whereby stormwater runoff produced by the property is retained and treated on site in accordance with a stormwater management plan approved pursuant to Chapter 3.1 (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.) of Title 62.1. The locality shall base the amount of the waiver in part on the percentage reduction in stormwater flow or pollutant loadings, or both, from pre-installation to post-installation of the facility. No locality shall provide a waiver to any person who does not obtain a stormwater permit from the Department of Environmental Quality when such permit is required by statute or regulation.

E. A locality adopting such a system may provide for full or partial waivers of charges to cemeteries, property owned or operated by the locality administering the program, and public or private entities that implement or participate in strategies, techniques, or programs that reduce stormwater flow or pollutant loadings, or decrease the cost of maintaining or operating the public stormwater management system.

F. Any locality may issue general obligation bonds or revenue bonds in order to finance the cost of infrastructure and equipment for a stormwater control program. Infrastructure and equipment shall include structural and natural stormwater control systems of all types, including, without limitation, retention basins, sewers, conduits, pipelines, pumping and ventilating stations, and other plants, structures, and real and personal property used for support of the system. The procedure for the issuance of any such general obligation bonds or revenue bonds pursuant to this section shall be in conformity with the procedure for issuance of such bonds as set forth in the Public Finance Act (§ 15.2-2600 et seq.).

G. In the event charges are not paid when due, interest thereon shall at that time accrue at the rate, not to exceed the maximum amount allowed by law, determined by the locality until such time as the overdue payment and interest are paid. Charges and interest may be recovered by the locality by action at law or suit in equity and shall constitute a lien against the property, ranking on a parity with liens for unpaid taxes. The locality may combine the billings for stormwater charges with billings for water or sewer charges, real property tax assessments, or other billings; in such cases, the locality may establish the order in which payments will be applied to the different charges. No locality shall combine its billings with those of another locality or political subdivision, including an authority operating pursuant to Chapter 51 (§ 15.2-5100 et seq.) of Title 15.2, unless such locality or political subdivision has given its consent by duly adopted resolution or ordinance.

H. Any two or more localities may enter into cooperative agreements concerning the management of stormwater.

I. For purposes of implementing waivers pursuant to subdivision C 1, for property where two adjoining localities subject to a revenue sharing agreement each hold municipal separate storm sewer permits, the waiver shall also apply to the property of each locality and of its school board that is accounted for in that locality's municipal separate storm sewer program plan, regardless of whether such property is located within the adjoining locality.

J. Any locality that establishes a system of charges pursuant to this section may establish a public-private partnership program, to be known as a stormwater management private property program, in order to promote cost-effectiveness in reducing excessive stormwater flow or pollutant loadings or in making other stormwater improvements authorized pursuant to this section. A locality that opts to establish a stormwater management private property program pursuant to this subsection shall:

1. Promote awareness of the location, quantity, and timing of reductions or other improvements that it determines appropriate under this program;

2. Seek the voluntary participation of property owners;

3. Accept the participation of property owners on both an individual and a group basis by which multiple owners may collaborate on improvements and allocate among the multiple owners any payments made by the locality;

4. Enter into contracts at its discretion to secure improvements on terms and conditions that the locality deems appropriate, including by making payments to property owners in excess of the value of any applicable waivers pursuant to subsections D and E; and

5. Require appropriate operation and maintenance of the contracted improvements.

K. Any locality that establishes a stormwater management private property program pursuant to subsection J may procure reductions and improvements in accordance with the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act (§ 56-575.1 et seq.) or other means, as appropriate. Subsection J shall not be interpreted to limit the authority of a locality to secure reductions of excessive stormwater flow or pollutant loadings or other stormwater improvements by other means.

1991, c. 703, § 15.1-292.4; 1994, cc. 284, 805; 1997, cc. 331, 587; 1998, c. 182; 2003, c. 390; 2004, c. 507; 2005, c. 313; 2006, c. 11; 2009, c. 703; 2011, c. 452; 2013, cc. 756, 793; 2015, c. 683; 2016, c. 587; 2017, c. 375.

§ 15.2-2114.01. Local Stormwater Management Fund; grant moneys.

Any locality may by ordinance create a local Stormwater Management Fund consisting of appropriated local moneys for the purpose of granting funds to an owner of private property or a common interest community for stormwater management and erosion prevention on previously developed lands. Grants from such fund shall be used only for the construction, improvement, or repair of a stormwater management facility or for erosion and sediment control.

2019, cc. 344, 559.

§ 15.2-2114.1. Car-washing fundraiser.

No locality shall prohibit car washing as a noncommercial fundraising activity if the washing uses only biodegradable, phosphate-free, water-based cleaners, nor shall any permit issued pursuant to the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.) prohibit the discharge of such noncommercial fundraising activity washwaters from a municipal separate storm sewer system.

2018, c. 793.

§ 15.2-2115. Purchase of gas, electric and water plants operating in contiguous territory.

Whenever a locality leases or purchases any gas, electric or water plant operating within territory contiguous to the locality, the locality so leasing or purchasing shall have all of the rights, privileges and franchises of the person from which the property was leased or purchased and the power to operate, maintain and extend service lines in all the territory which the plant so leased or purchased had the right to do. Any locality leasing or purchasing any property hereunder shall be obligated to furnish, from the property so leased or purchased, or from any other source, an adequate supply of gas, electricity or water to the consumers of any person whose plant was leased or purchased. In the exercise of the powers granted by this section, localities shall be subject to the provisions of § 25.1-102 to the same extent as are corporations.

Code 1950, § 15-716; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-293; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 940.

§ 15.2-2116. Acquisition by county or city of water supply system or sewage system from sanitary district.

Any county or city may acquire any water supply or sewage systems or water supply and sewage system, from any sanitary district in any such county or city, and the sanitary district may convey the system to such county or city, upon: (i) the payment to the sanitary district by the county or city of the amount of any indebtedness owing by the county or city to the sanitary district with respect to such water supply or sewage system or water supply and sewage system (reduced by the amount of any indebtedness owing to the county or city by the sanitary district in respect of such system), provided that any such amount so paid to the sanitary district shall be set aside and applied to the payment of the outstanding bonded indebtedness of the sanitary district incurred with respect to such water supply or sewage system or water supply and sewage system; and (ii) the assumption by the county or city of the outstanding bonded indebtedness of the sanitary district incurred with respect to such water supply or sewage system, or water supply and sewage system, for which payment is not provided for pursuant to clause (i), or any portion thereof, or the payment by the county or city of moneys (reduced by any amounts paid to the sanitary district pursuant to clause (i)) sufficient for, and to be applied to, the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonded indebtedness or portion thereof not assumed by the county or city and for which payment is not provided for pursuant to clause (i), or a combination of such assumption and payment whereby the payment of the principal of and interest on all such bonds shall be made or provided for.

The county or city may limit its assumption of such sanitary district's bonded indebtedness to payment from the revenues to be derived from rates, rentals, fees and charges for the use and services of such water or sewage system, or water and sewage system. If at any time the revenues derived from rates, rentals, fees and charges for the use and services of such unified system are insufficient to provide for the operation and maintenance of the system and for payment of principal of and interest on such bonded indebtedness of the sanitary district as they become due, the sanitary district shall levy an annual tax upon all property in such sanitary district subject to local taxation to pay such principal and interest as they become due.

Nothing contained in the immediately preceding sentence shall, however, be construed to relieve the county or city of its obligations under any such agreement to impose rates, rentals, fees and charges for the use and services of such system sufficient to pay the costs of operation and maintenance and to provide for the payment of such principal and interest. Such agreement shall also provide for the assumption by the county or city of the contracts for materials and services pertaining to such water supply or sewage system or water supply and sewage system, entered into by the sanitary district and existing on the day of such acquisition.

Moneys to be applied to the payment of sanitary district bonded indebtedness under this section shall be applied to such payment upon the earlier of the stated maturity of such bonds or the first date after the acquisition that such bonds may be redeemed in accordance with their terms. Pending such application, such moneys may be invested by the governing bodies in investments permitted by subdivisions 1, 2 and 3 of § 2.2-4500, exclusive of revenue bonds. Amounts earned from time to time on the investment of such moneys and not required for the payment of the principal of and interest and premium, if any, on such bonded indebtedness shall be paid to such county or city and applied to water supply or sewerage purposes, or both. The county or city may enter into a contract with any bank or trust company within or outside the Commonwealth, not inconsistent with the foregoing provisions, with respect to the safekeeping and application of the moneys set aside in accordance herewith for the payment of such bonded indebtedness of such sanitary district, the investment of such moneys and the safekeeping and application of the earnings on such investment.

If there is a sanitary district in any such county or city having both a water supply system and a sewage system, the governing bodies, in their discretion, may acquire either or both of such systems, and if there is a single indebtedness against both such systems and the governing bodies elect to acquire only one such system, then the governing body is authorized and empowered to assume such indebtedness in whole or in part. Any such water or sewage system or water and sewage system acquired by any county or city hereunder shall constitute a "project" as defined in § 15.2-2602, and such county or city in respect of such project shall have all the powers granted by the Public Finance Act (§ 15.2-2600 et seq.). Any acquisition pursuant to this section of a water supply or sewage system, or water supply and sewage system, of a sanitary district shall be made pursuant to an agreement entered into between the county or city and such district. No proceeding or approvals other than those specifically required by this section shall be required for the acquisition by the county or city from any sanitary district, or the conveyance to the county or city by any sanitary district, of any such system or systems.

1948, c. 154, § 15.1-293.1; 1972, c. 220; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2117. Contracts with sewerage or water purification company, etc.

Any locality may contract with any sewerage or water purification company to introduce, build, maintain and operate a system of sewerage and water purification or of sewers, pipes and conduits suitable, necessary and proper for the purification of the water supply or for the sewerage of any such locality, including the authority to contract for, and contract to provide, meter reading, billing and collections, leak detection, meter replacement and any related customer service functions. The authority granted localities under this chapter to enter into contracts with private entities includes the authority to enter into public-private partnerships for the establishment and operation of water and sewage systems.

Any locality may also require the owners or occupiers of the real estate within the limits of any such locality, which may front or abut on the line of any such sewers, pipes or conduits, to make connections with and to use such sewers, pipes and conduits in accordance with ordinances and regulations the governing body deems necessary to secure the proper sewerage thereof and to improve and secure good sanitary conditions. The locality may also enforce the observance of all such ordinances and regulations by the imposition and collection of fines and penalties.

Any locality, contracting with any company for the objects and purposes aforesaid may provide in any such contract for the fees and charges to be paid by the owners or occupiers of the properties within the limits of any such locality, to any such company for connecting with, tapping or using any such sewer, pipes or conduits introduced in any such locality as aforesaid.

Any locality may make and enforce all such ordinances as may be necessary and proper to compel the payment of such fees and charges and may also do all other acts and things that may be necessary to establish, enforce and maintain under any such contract a complete system of water and sewerage purification and sewerage for any such locality.

Code 1950, §§ 15-717, 15-718, 15-719; 1962, c. 623, §§ 15.1-294, 15.1-297, 15.1-298; 1997, c. 587; 2001, c. 120; 2002, c. 446.

§ 15.2-2118. Lien for water and sewer charges and taxes imposed by localities.

The governing body of any county adjoining a city lying wholly within the Commonwealth and with a population of more than 75,000 according to the 1970 or any subsequent census and any county having a density of population of more than 600 per square mile according to the 1960 or any subsequent census, Botetourt, Caroline, Culpeper, Cumberland, Franklin, Gloucester, Goochland, Hanover, Isle of Wight, New Kent, Orange and any town located therein, Prince George, Rockingham, Smyth, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and York Counties; the Cities of Fairfax, Manassas Park, Newport News, Petersburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Suffolk; and the Towns of Abingdon, Blacksburg, Clifton Forge, Front Royal, Kenbridge, Onancock, and Urbanna may by ordinance provide that taxes or charges hereafter made, imposed, or incurred for water or sewers or use thereof within or outside such locality shall be a lien on the real estate served by such waterline or sewer. Where residential rental real estate is involved, no lien shall attach (i) unless the user of the water or sewer services is also the owner of the real estate or (ii) unless the owner of the real estate negotiated or executed the agreement by which such water or sewer services were provided to the property.

Code 1950, § 15-717.1; 1950, p. 896; 1962, cc. 511, 623, § 15.1-295; 1977, c. 66; 1978, c. 478; 1980, c. 323; 1990, c. 382; 1991, c. 172; 1993, c. 359; 1994, c. 627; 1997, c. 587; 1998, cc. 313, 568; 1999, cc. 311, 767, 841; 2000, c. 287; 2002, c. 193; 2003, c. 191; 2004, cc. 24, 712; 2005, c. 730; 2006, cc. 645, 749; 2007, cc. 152, 886; 2008, cc. 332, 428; 2010, c. 631; 2011, cc. 340, 509, 533; 2012, cc. 354, 441, 620; 2014, cc. 430, 694.

§ 15.2-2118.1. Lien for gas utilities charges and taxes imposed by localities.

The governing body of any locality with a municipally-owned gas utility may by ordinance provide that taxes or charges hereafter made, imposed or incurred for gas service within or outside such locality shall be a lien on the real estate served by such gas utility. Where residential rental real estate is involved, no lien shall attach (i) unless the user of the gas utility services is also the owner of the real estate or (ii) unless the owner of the real estate negotiated or executed the agreement by which such gas utility services were provided to the property. Nothing herein shall authorize a locality to require that municipal gas service be contracted for in the name of the owner of residential rental real estate if the lease between the owner and any tenant for such residential rental real estate provides that the tenant shall contract for such gas service.

2001, c. 761.

§ 15.2-2119. Fees and charges for water and sewer services provided to a property owner.

A. For water and sewer services provided by localities, fees and charges may be charged to and collected from (i) any person contracting for the same; (ii) the owner who is the occupant of the property or where a single meter serves multiple units; (iii) a lessee or tenant in accordance with § 15.2-2119.4 with such fees and charges applicable for water and sewer services (a) which directly or indirectly is or has been connected with the sewage disposal system and (b) from or on which sewage or industrial wastes originate or have originated and have directly or indirectly entered or will enter the sewage disposal system; or (iv) any user of a municipality's water or sewer system with respect to combined sanitary and storm water sewer systems where the user is a resident of the municipality and the purpose of any such fee or charge is related to the control of combined sewer overflow discharges from such systems. Such fees and charges shall be practicable and equitable and payable as directed by the respective locality operating or providing for the operation of the water or sewer system.

B. Such fees and charges, being in the nature of use or service charges, shall, as nearly as the governing body deems practicable and equitable, be uniform for the same type, class and amount of use or service of the sewage disposal system and may be based or computed either on the consumption of water on or in connection with the real estate, making due allowances for commercial use of water, or on the number and kind of water outlets on or in connection with the real estate or on the number and kind of plumbing or sewage fixtures or facilities on or in connection with the real estate or on the number or average number of persons residing or working on or otherwise connected or identified with the real estate or any other factors determining the type, class and amount of use or service of the sewage disposal system, or any combination of such factors, or on such other basis as the governing body may determine. Such fees and charges shall be due and payable at such time as the governing body may determine, and the governing body may require the same to be paid in advance for periods of not more than six months. The revenue derived from any or all of such fees and charges is hereby declared to be revenue of such sewage disposal system.

C. Water and sewer connection fees established by any locality shall be fair and reasonable. Such fees shall be reviewed by the locality periodically and shall be adjusted, if necessary, to assure that they continue to be fair and reasonable. Nothing herein shall affect existing contracts with bondholders that are in conflict with any of the foregoing provisions.

D. If the fees and charges charged for water service or the use and services of the sewage disposal system by or in connection with any real estate are not paid when due, a penalty and interest shall at that time be owed as provided for by general law, and the owner of such real estate shall, until such fees and charges are paid with such penalty and interest to the date of payment, cease to dispose of sewage or industrial waste originating from or on such real estate by discharge thereof directly or indirectly into the sewage disposal system. If such owner does not pay the full amount of charges, penalty, and interest for water provided or cease such disposal within 30 days thereafter, the locality or person supplying water or sewage disposal services for the use of such real estate shall notify such owner of the delinquency. If such owner does not pay the full amount of charges, penalty, and interest for water provided or cease such disposal within 60 days after the delinquent fees and charges charged for water or sewage disposal services are due, the locality or person supplying water or sewage disposal services for the use of such real estate may cease supplying water and sewage disposal services thereto unless the health officers certify that shutting off the water will endanger the health of the occupants of the premises or the health of others. At least 10 business days prior to ceasing the supply of water or sewage disposal services, the locality or person supplying such services shall provide the owner with written notice of such cessation.

E. Such fees and charges, and any penalty and interest thereon, shall constitute a lien against the property, ranking on a parity with liens for unpaid taxes.

A lien may be placed on the property when the owner has been advised in writing that a lien may be placed upon the property if the owner fails to pay any delinquent water and sewer charges. Such written notice shall be provided at least 30 days in advance of recordation of any lien with a copy of the bill for delinquent water and sewer charges to allow the property owner a reasonable opportunity to pay the amount of the outstanding balance and avoid the recordation of a lien against the property. The lien may be in the amount of (i) up to the number of months of delinquent water or sewer charges when the water or sewer is, or both are, provided to the property owner; (ii) any applicable penalties and interest on such delinquent charges; and (iii) reasonable attorney fees and other costs of collection not exceeding 20 percent of such delinquent charges. In no case shall a lien for less than $25 be placed against the property.

F. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any town with a population between 11,000 and 14,000, with the concurrence of the affected county, that provides and operates sewer services outside its boundaries may provide sewer services to industrial and commercial users outside its boundaries and collect such compensation therefor as may be contracted for between the town and such user. Such town shall not thereby be obligated to provide sewer services to any other users outside its boundaries.

G. The lien shall not bind or affect a subsequent bona fide purchaser of the real estate for valuable consideration without actual notice of the lien until the amount of such delinquent charges is entered in the official records of the office of the clerk of the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which the real estate is located. The clerk shall make and index the entries in the clerk's official records for a fee of $5 per entry, to be paid by the locality and added to the amount of the lien.

H. The lien on any real estate may be discharged by the payment to the locality of the total lien amount and the interest which has accrued to the date of the payment. The locality shall deliver a fully executed lien release substantially in the form set forth in this subsection to the person making the payment. The locality shall provide the fully executed lien release to the person who made payment within 10 business days of such payment if the person who made such payment did not personally appear at the time of such payment. Upon presentation of such lien release, the clerk shall mark the lien satisfied. There shall be no separate clerk's fee for such lien release. For purposes of this section, a lien release of the water and sewer lien substantially in the form as follows shall be sufficient compliance with this section:

Prepared By and When

Recorded Return to:

Tax Parcel/GPIN Number:

CERTIFICATE OF RELEASE OF WATER AND SEWER SERVICE LIEN

Pursuant to Va. Code Annotated § 15.2-2119 (H), this release is exempt from
recordation fees.

Date Lien Recorded: Instrument Deed Book No.:

Grantee for Index Purposes:

Claim Asserted: Delinquent water and sewer service charges in the amount of
$.

Description of Property: [Insert name of property owner and tax map
parcel/GPIN Number]

The above-mentioned lien is hereby released.

BY:

TITLE:

COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

CITY/COUNTY OF , to-wit:

Acknowledged, subscribed, and sworn to before me this day of
by as of the [Insert Water/Sewer
Provider Name] on behalf of [Insert Water/Sewer Provider Name].

Notary Public

My commission expires:

Notary Registration Number:

Code 1950, § 15-739.2; 1950, p. 1611; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-321; 1991, c. 476; 1994, c. 932; 1997, cc. 12, 587; 1998, c. 223; 2001, c. 13; 2005, c. 912; 2011, cc. 529, 580; 2012, c. 766; 2016, cc. 415, 528; 2017, c. 736.

§ 15.2-2119.1. Credit for excessive water and sewer charges.

A locality or authority, as such term is defined in § 15.2-5101, may provide a partial credit for excessive water and sewer charges where high water usage is caused by damaged pipes, leaks, accidents, or other intentional or unintentional causes.

1998, c. 178; 2017, c. 736.

§ 15.2-2119.2. Discounted fees and charges for certain low-income, elderly, or disabled customers.

The City of Richmond or any locality that is the owner of a water and sewer system and that has a population density of 200 persons per square mile or less, and the Town of Louisa, by ordinance may develop criteria for providing discounted water and sewer fees and charges for low-income, elderly, or disabled customers.

2013, cc. 361, 487; 2014, cc. 387, 514, 796.

§ 15.2-2119.3. Sustainable infrastructure financial assistance.

The City of Richmond may by ordinance develop criteria for financial assistance to customers for plumbing repairs and the replacement of water-inefficient appliances.

2014, cc. 387, 522.

§ 15.2-2119.4. Fees and charges for water and sewer services provided to a tenant or lessee of the property owner.

A. Notwithstanding any provision of law, general or special, the provisions of this section apply to any locality or authority, as such term is defined in § 15.2-5101.

B. A locality or authority providing water or sewer services to a lessee or tenant of the property owner shall do so directly to the tenant after (i) obtaining from the property owner a written or electronic authorization to obtain water and sewer services in the name of such lessee or tenant and (ii) if the locality or authority decides to use the lien rights afforded under subsection G of § 15.2-2119, collecting a security deposit from the lessee or tenant as reasonably determined by the locality to be sufficient to collateralize the locality or authority for not less than three and no more than five months of water and sewer charges. When the property owner has provided the lessee or tenant with written authorization from the property owner to obtain water and sewer services in the name of such lessee or tenant, nothing herein shall be construed to authorize the locality or authority to require (a) the property owner to put water and sewer services in the name of such property owner, except in the case where a single meter serves multiple tenant units, or (b) a security deposit or a guarantee of payment from such property owner. The property owner, lessee, or tenant may provide a copy of the lease or rental agreement to the locality or authority in lieu of the written authorization.

C. For purposes of this section, a written or electronic authorization from the property owner to obtain water and sewer services in the name of such lessee or tenant substantially in the form as follows, or a copy of the lease or rental agreement, shall be sufficient compliance with this section:

DATE

[INSERT NAME OF WATER AND SEWER SERVICES PROVIDER AND ADDRESS]

RE: [INSERT FULL TENANT NAME AND ADDRESS]

To Whom It May Concern:

[INSERT TENANT NAME] has entered into a lease for the property located at
[INSERT ADDRESS] and is authorized to obtain services at this address as a
tenant of [INSERT PROPERTY OWNER NAME].

Signed:

PROPERTY OWNER

D. If the fees and charges charged for water service or the use and services of the sewage disposal system by or in connection with any real estate are not paid when due, a penalty and interest shall be owed, as provided for by general law, by the lessee or tenant. If such lessee or tenant does not pay the full amount of charges, penalty, and interest for water provided or cease such disposal within 30 days thereafter, the locality or authority supplying water or sewage disposal services for the use of such real estate shall notify such lessee or tenant of the delinquency. If such lessee or tenant does not pay the full amount of charges, penalty, and interest for water provided or cease such disposal within 60 days after the delinquent fees and charges charged for water or sewage disposal services are due, the locality or authority supplying water or sewage disposal services for the use of such real estate may cease supplying water and sewage disposal services thereto unless the health officers certify that shutting off the water will endanger the health of the occupants of the premises or the health of others. At least 10 business days prior to ceasing the supply of water or sewage disposal services, the locality or authority supplying such services shall provide the lessee or tenant with written notice of such cessation, with a copy to the property owner.

E. If the lessee or tenant does not pay the full amount of charges, penalty, and interest for water or the use and services of the sewage disposal system in a timely manner as set out herein, in addition to cessation of such service, the locality or authority shall employ reasonable collection efforts and practices to collect amounts due from the lessee or tenant prior to sending written notice to, or taking any collection or legal action against, the property owner regarding the delinquency of payment of such lessee or tenant. For the purposes of this section, "reasonable collection efforts and practices" include (i) applying the security deposit paid by the lessee or tenant held by the locality or authority to the payment of the outstanding balance; and (ii) either filing for the Setoff Debt Collection Program (§ 58.1-520 et seq.) or placing the account with a debt collection service.

F. Only after the locality or service authority has taken the reasonable collection efforts set forth in subsection E of § 15.2-2119 and practices to collect such fees and charges from the lessee or tenant may the locality or service authority proceed to notify the property owner of such outstanding lien obligation of such lessee or tenant and thereafter to record a lien against the property owner by using the lien recordation and release of lien processes as set out in § 15.2-2119 and only after notice to the property owner as required in § 15.2-2119. Such a lien, up to three months of delinquent water and sewer charges, shall constitute a lien against the property ranking on a parity with liens for unpaid taxes.

G. If a lien is recorded against the property owner and the property owner pays any of the delinquent obligations of such former lessee or tenant, upon payment of the outstanding balance, or any portion thereof, or of any amounts of such fees and charges owed by the former tenant, the property owner shall be entitled to receive any refunds and shall be subrogated against the former tenant in place of the locality or authority in the amount paid by the property owner. The locality or authority shall execute all documents necessary to perfect such subrogation in favor of the property owner.

H. Unless a lien has been recorded against the property owner, the locality or authority shall not deny service to a new tenant who is requesting service at a particular property address based upon the fact that a former tenant has not paid any outstanding fees and charges charged for the use and services in the name of the former previous tenant. In addition, the locality or authority shall provide information relative to a former tenant or current tenant to the property owner upon request of the property owner. If the property owner provides the locality or authority a request to be notified of a tenant's delinquent water or sewer bill and provides an email address, the locality or authority shall send the property owner notice when a tenant's water or sewer bill has become 15 days delinquent.

I. When a locality or authority does not require a lessee or tenant to pay a security deposit to the locality or authority as a condition precedent to turning on water or sewer services in the name of the lessee or tenant, such locality or authority shall waive its lien rights against the property owner. All other provisions of this section shall apply.

J. The locality or authority shall not require a security deposit from the lessee or tenant to obtain water and sewer services in the name of such lessee or tenant if such lessee or tenant presents to the locality or authority a landlord authorization letter that has attached documentation showing that such lessee or tenant receives need-based local, state, or federal rental assistance, and the absence of a security deposit shall not prevent a locality from exercising its lien rights as authorized under this section. All other provisions of this section shall apply.

2017, c. 736.

§ 15.2-2120. Enforcement of liens for water or sewer charges.

A. Any lien for water and sewer charges when properly docketed in the clerk's office may be enforced in the same manner as taxes due a locality or by cutting off water or sewer service provided the public health or safety will not be endangered thereby.

B. Such lien shall not bind or affect a subsequent bona fide purchaser of such real estate for valuable consideration without actual notice of such lien, until and except from the time that the amount of such fees and charges are entered in a judgment lien book in the circuit court for the locality wherein the real estate or a part thereof is located. It shall be the duty of the circuit court clerk to cause entries to be made and indexed therein from time to time upon certification by the locality.

C. Such lien on any real estate may be discharged by the payment to the locality of the total amount of such lien and the interest which may accrue to the date of such payment. It shall be the duty of the locality to deliver a certificate thereof to the person paying the same, and upon presentation thereof, the clerk having the record of such lien shall mark the entry of such lien satisfied.

Code 1950, § 15-717.2; 1950, p. 896; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-296; 1977, c. 66; 1979, c. 239; 1994, c. 432; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2121. Regulations as to water, sewer and other facilities in subdivisions and development plans.

Any locality which has adopted regulations under Chapter 22 (§ 15.2-2200 et seq.) governing the use and development of land may also adopt regulations, subject to the provisions of Chapter 3.1 (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.) of Title 62.1, fixing requirements as to the extent to which and the manner in which water, sewer and other utility mains, piping, conduits, connections, pumping stations and other facilities in connection therewith shall be installed as a condition precedent to the approval of an original plat of a subdivision or a development plan adopted pursuant to § 15.2-2286, or alteration of any such plat or a development plan adopted pursuant to § 15.2-2286. Such regulations may (i) require the water source to be an approved source of supply capable of furnishing the needs of the eventual inhabitants of such subdivision proposed to be served thereby, (ii) include requirements as to the size and nature of the water and sewer and other utility mains, pipes, conduits, connections, pumping stations or other facilities installed or to be installed in connection with the proposed water or sewer systems and (iii) include requirements to extend and connect to abutting or adjacent public water or sewer systems.

Code 1950, § 15-719.1; 1954, c. 592; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-299; 1970, c. 572; 1997, c. 587; 2005, c. 567.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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