Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 21. Franchises; Sale and Lease of Certain Municipal Public Property; Public Utilities

Article 5. Water Supply Systems Generally.

§ 15.2-2134. Construction of dams, etc., for purpose of providing public water supply; approval by governing body of locality.

Every locality is authorized to make expenditures from its general fund in order to acquire land, participate in the construction of dams and perform all other necessary acts for the purpose of providing a public water supply for the agricultural, residential, governmental and industrial development of the locality; however, such dam shall not be constructed nor any land acquired therefor when the dam would be located in another locality without the approval of such locality's governing body. No such approval shall be required when the dam is in the process of construction, or the site has been purchased, or plans for its construction were filed with any appropriate agency of the federal, state, or local government on or before July 1, 1976.

In any case in which approval by such locality's governing body is withheld, the party seeking such approval may petition for the convening of a special court, pursuant to §§ 15.2-2135 through 15.2-2141.

Code 1950 (Suppl.), §§ 15-20.8, 15-26.1; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 18; 1960, c. 515; 1962, cc. 492, 623, § 15.1-37; 1975, c. 573; 1976, c. 69; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2135. Disputes between jurisdictions involving dams or water impoundment; constitution of special court; vacancies occurring during trial.

A. The special court to hear a case between jurisdictions involving a dam or water impoundment shall be composed of three judges of circuit courts remote from the jurisdictions of the parties involved. The judges shall be designated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The special court shall sit without a jury.

B. If a vacancy occurs on the special court at any time prior to the final disposition of the case, the vacancy shall be filled by designation of another judge and the proceeding shall continue.

1976, c. 69, § 15.1-37.1:1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2136. Powers of special court; rules of decision; order controlling subsequent conduct of case.

The court, in making its decision, shall balance the equities in the case, enter an order setting forth what it deems fair and reasonable terms and conditions, and direct the land acquisition to be in conformity therewith. It shall have power to:

1. Determine the metes and bounds of the land to be acquired, and may include a greater or smaller area than that described in the petition;

2. Require the payment by the acquiring party of a sum to be determined by the special court, payable on the effective date of acquisition, and provide for compensation for the value of any improvements also acquired;

3. Limit the number of expert witnesses, as well as require each expert witness who will testify to file a statement of his qualifications;

4. Take other action as may aid in the disposition of the case.

The special court shall make an appropriate order which will control the subsequent conduct of the case unless modified before or at the trial or hearing to prevent manifest injustice.

1976, c. 69, § 15.1-37.1:2; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2137. Special court; hearing and decision.

A. The special court shall hear the case upon the evidence introduced as evidence is introduced in civil cases.

B. The special court shall determine the necessity for and expediency of the acquisition of land or other proposed action and the best interests of the parties.

C. If a majority of the special court is of the opinion that the proposed action is not necessary or expedient, the petition shall be dismissed. If a majority of the court is satisfied of the necessity for and expediency of the proposed action, it shall determine the terms and conditions of the action and shall enter an order granting the petition. In all contested cases, the special court shall render a written opinion. The order granting the petition shall set forth in detail all such terms and conditions upon which the petition is granted.

1976, c. 69, § 15.1-37.1:3; 1979, c. 671; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2138. Dispute between jurisdictions; additional parties.

Any locality whose territory is affected by the proceedings or any person affected by the proceedings may appear and shall be made a party defendant to the case.

1976, c. 69, § 15.1-37.1:4; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2139. Special court; costs.

The costs in the proceedings before the special court shall be paid by the party instituting the proceedings and shall be the same as in other civil cases; the costs shall also include the per diem and expenses of the court reporter, if any, and, in the discretion of the court, a reasonable allowance to the court for secretarial services in connection with the preparation of the written opinion. In the event of an appeal, the Supreme Court of Virginia shall determine by whom the appellate costs shall be paid.

1976, c. 69, § 15.1-37.1:5; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2140. Dispute between jurisdictions; appeals.

A. An appeal may be granted by the Supreme Court of Virginia, or any judge thereof, to any party from the judgment of the special court, and the appeal shall be heard and determined without reference to the principles of demurrer to evidence. The special court shall certify the facts in the case to the Supreme Court, and the evidence shall be considered as on appeal in proceedings under Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1. In any case, by consent of all parties of record, a motion to dismiss may be made at any time before final judgment on appeal.

B. If the judgment of the special court is reversed on appeal, or if the judgment is modified, the Supreme Court shall enter such order as the special court should have entered, and the order shall be final.

1976, c. 69, § 15.1-37.1:6; 1979, c. 671; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 940.

§ 15.2-2141. Conflicting petitions for same territory; petition seeking territory in two or more counties.

A. When proceedings for the acquisition of land by a locality are pending and a petition is filed seeking the acquisition of the same land or a portion thereof to another locality, the case shall be heard by the special court in which the original proceedings are pending. The special court shall consolidate the cases and hear them together, and shall make such decision as is just, taking into consideration the interest of all parties to each case.

B. When the land sought by a locality lies in two or more counties, all such counties shall be made parties defendant to the case. The motion or petition shall be addressed to the circuit court of the county in which the larger part of the land is located. The provisions of §§ 15.2-2135 through 15.2-2141 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to any such proceedings.

1976, c. 69, § 15.1-37.1:7; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2142. Certain localities may construct dams across navigable streams; permission from Chief of Engineers, Secretary of Army and State Attorney General; approval of governing body.

Any locality authorized by its charter or by general law to construct a dam in connection with its public water supply system and which has secured permission from the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of the Army and the authorization of the Attorney General of Virginia with the consent and approval of the Governor, may construct such dam in and across the bed of any navigable river, stream or tributary in this Commonwealth; however, such dam shall not be constructed nor any land acquired therefor when the dam would be located in another locality without the approval of such locality's governing body. No such approval shall be required when the dam is in the process of construction, the site has been purchased, or plans for its construction were filed with any appropriate agency of the federal, state, or local government on or before July 1, 1976.

In any case in which the approval by such locality's governing body is withheld, the party seeking such approval may petition the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia for the convening of a special court, pursuant to §§ 15.2-2135 through 15.2-2141.

Code 1950, § 15-20.7; 1962, c. 402, § 15.1-37.1; 1975, c. 573; 1976, c. 69; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2143. Water supplies and facilities.

Every locality may provide and operate within or outside its boundaries water supplies and water production, preparation, distribution and transmission systems, facilities and appurtenances for the purpose of furnishing water for the use of its inhabitants; or may contract with others for such purposes and services. Fees and charges for the services of such systems shall be fair and reasonable and payable as directed by the locality. Except in counties which are not otherwise authorized, a locality may require the connection of premises with facilities provided for furnishing water; charge and collect compensation for water thus furnished; and may provide penalties for the unauthorized use thereof.

No locality, after July 1, 1976, shall construct, provide or operate outside its boundaries any water supply system prior to obtaining the consent of the locality in which the system is to be located. No consent shall be required for the operation of any such water supply system in existence on July 1, 1976, in the process of construction or for which the site has been purchased, or for its orderly expansion.

In any case in which the approval by such locality's governing body is withheld, the party seeking such approval may petition for the convening of a special court, pursuant to §§ 15.2-2135 through 15.2-2141.

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, which provides and operates outside its boundaries any such water supply system may provide water supplies 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 water supplies to any other users outside its boundaries.

Code 1950, § 15-77.39; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-875; 1975, c. 573; 1976, c. 69; 1997, c. 587; 1998, cc. 224, 328.

§ 15.2-2144. Inspection of water supplies.

A. Every locality may regulate and inspect public and private water supplies; the production, preparation, transmission and distribution of water; and the sanitation of establishments, systems, facilities and equipment in or by means of which water is produced, prepared, transmitted and distributed. It may prevent the pollution of such water supplies; and, without liability to the owner thereof, may prevent the transmission or distribution of water when it is found to be polluted, adulterated, impure or dangerous.

B. Every public water supply operator shall at least annually test the public water supply for the presence of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE). The locality shall maintain a record of testing conducted pursuant to this subsection. If the results of any test conducted pursuant to this subsection indicates the presence of MTBE in excess of 15 parts per billion, the locality shall immediately notify the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health. The Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services shall maintain and make available, upon the request of any person, a list of laboratories, accredited under the provisions of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. § 300f et seq.) to analyze samples, located throughout the Commonwealth that possess the technical expertise to analyze water samples for the presence of MTBE. Any lab seeking accreditation under the Safe Drinking Water Act may contact the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. The Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services shall establish a fee system to offset the costs of tests performed on behalf of public water supply operators. Such test may be conducted simultaneously with other tests.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the State Board of Health, acting pursuant to its authority regarding public water supplies, may establish an alternative schedule for water supply testing, which shall apply in lieu of this subsection, for any public waterworks where annual testing is not otherwise required, if it determines that an alternative schedule is appropriate to protect the public health and promote the public welfare.

Code 1950, § 15-77.18; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-854; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 1004; 2004, c. 438.

§ 15.2-2145. Sale of water and use of streets by one city in another.

No city which owns or controls a waterworks system and which is authorized by its charter, or by general law, to sell or supply water to persons, firms or industries residing or located outside of its city limits shall be permitted to sell, supply or dispose of its water to the inhabitants, firms, corporations or industries of any other city, without the consent of such latter city; nor shall it operate any part of its waterworks system or occupy or use the streets, lanes, parks or other public places for such purpose in such latter city without first obtaining consent.

Code 1950, § 15-748; 1950, p. 851; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-334; 1970, c. 583; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2146. Powers of localities to acquire certain waterworks system.

For the purpose of providing an adequate water supply or of acquiring, maintaining or enlarging a waterworks system, including chronically noncompliant waterworks, as defined in § 32.1-167, any locality, in addition to other powers conferred by law, may acquire, as provided in § 15.2-1800, within or outside or partly within and partly outside the limits of the locality, the property, in whole or in part, whensoever acquired, of any private or public service corporation operating a waterworks system or chartered for the purpose of acquiring or operating such a system. Such property shall include its lands, plants, works, buildings, machinery, pipes, mains, wells, basins, reservoirs and all appurtenances thereto and its contracts, easements, rights and franchises, including its franchise to be a corporation, whether such property, or any part thereof, is essential to the purposes of the corporation or not. However, any locality condemning property hereunder shall furnish water, at appropriate rates, to the customers of any water company whose property is condemned. The provisions of § 25.1-102 shall not apply in the case of condemnation of an existing water or sewage disposal system in its entirety.

Code 1950, § 15-749; 1958, c. 401; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-335; 1966, c. 170; 1987, c. 200; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 940; 2007, cc. 648, 774.

§ 15.2-2147. City acquiring plant within one mile of another city.

If any city acquires by purchase, lease, condemnation or otherwise, the property, rights and franchises of any private or public service corporation operating a waterworks system, whose plant is located within one mile of the corporate limits of any other city and whose mains and pipes are laid in the streets of such other city, and could thereby prevent the other city from procuring water from the plant of such corporation, the city so acquiring such property shall establish and maintain the same fees for water under similar conditions and circumstances and furnish the same quality and pressure of water, all conditions considered, to all consumers of the same class in the other city as is furnished to consumers in the city acquiring the property.

Code 1950, § 15-751; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-337; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-2148. Contracts for water supply.

Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent a locality from contracting with another locality for the acquisition of a water supply or for the use and management of the water supply of either of them in any manner and upon any terms that they may see fit.

Code 1950, § 15-752; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-338; 1997, c. 587.