Is there any relief from high bills caused by leaks?
As a courtesy, we offer a one-time adjustment for unusually high water charges caused by leaks. All the details regarding adjustments are within the Rules and Regulations, under Courtesy Leak Adjustments. To be eligible for adjustment, the Customer must:
- promptly and properly repair the leak when detected;
- provide written proof of repairs to Fairfax Water in the form of copies of receipts or an invoice; and
- not have received a Courtesy Leak Adjustment from Fairfax Water during the preceding five years.
Please use this form to submit the required information. You may mail the completed form to: Fairfax Water Attn: Billing 8570 Executive Park Avenue Fairfax, VA 22031 You may fax it to: 703.289.6133 Or you may email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You should receive a response to your request within two weeks. All the details regarding adjustments are within the Rules and Regulations, under Courtesy Leak Adjustments.
What can I expect on my first bill?
The Fairfax Water bill will include your account number, water and sewer service and usage charges, the amount due, the payment due date, and messages about your service. An explanation of all charges can be found on the back of your bill. Initial bills include a one-time Account Charge of $41.00. This charge covers the administrative cost of establishing a new account and having the field technician turn on the water and take an initial meter reading.
What is Fairfax Water's payment address?
P.O. Box 5008
Merrifield, VA 22116-5008
How can I check my account balance?
You can check your account balance three ways:
- On the Customer Portal
- Via our IVR phone system; or
- By calling our Customer Service department
One of the benefits of registering at FWCustomer.org, is the ability to log in and view your balance and bills any time.
You may use our automated system / IVR at all hours. To use our automated system, you must have your thirteen-digit account number and the service address zip code.
- From 703.698.5800, select option 3 on our menu, during business hours. Select option 2, after hours.
- You will hear your current account balance and due date, as well as last payment date and last payment amount.
- Account information is updated once daily, from Tuesday through Saturday, by 7:00am, except on holidays.
During business hours, you may get your balance by speaking with Customer Service at 703.698.5800.
Can I view my bill online?
Yes! Register on our Customer Portal at FWCustomer.org to view and pay your bills, turn off paper, see bill and usage history.
How do I register my account on the Customer Portal?
In order to register your account, you will need your Fairfax Water account number as well as the city and zip code for your property where service is provided. Once you have that information ready, click here to start the registration process.
All required fields will be marked with a red asterisk (*). And, you will have guidance as you proceed through each step. Feel free to call us if you need additional help, 703.698.5800.
Why is my bill so high?
Leaks are often the culprit, and toilet leaks are the most common type. A single "running" toilet can quietly waste over 1,000 gallons of water in a single day. Fortunately, repairing toilet leaks is usually easy and inexpensive. Checking for leaks elsewhere in your plumbing system might reveal other sources of water loss. In many cases, high bills are a result of increased water use. Changes in outdoor water use, such as watering a new lawn or using a new sprinkler system, are usually responsible for large increases. Reading your water meter before and after watering can help you identify how much you are using. Our tips can help you use water wisely and reduce future bills. Although we read our meters with a high degree of accuracy, sometimes we make mistakes. If you suspect that we have misread the meter, please call our Customer Service department at 703.698.5800. We will gladly check the reading and make any necessary billing corrections.
Is the Customer Portal different from Fairfax Water's website?
It is, but our website and the Customer Portal are interconnected. You can reach FWCustomer.org from Fairfax Water's website. Since our website holds all of our informational content, some links on the Customer Portal go back to fairfaxwater.org. The Customer Portal is also available as a mobile app, search Fairfax Water in your app store.
What are the benefits of registering?
- Ability to view balance, current and past bills
- Ability to make a one-time payment
- Simple recurring payment enrollment and cancellation
- Ability to compare water usage quarter to quarter
- Self-service to update profile information such as email, phone numbers, or mailing address
- Ability to “turn-off” paper bills
- Ability to send messages such as billing questions, reporting a leak, downloading/submitting a Tenant Authorization Form, etc.
Click here to access the Customer Portal!
How often does Fairfax Water bill?
Residential customers are billed every three months.
I received a Notice of Disconnection of Water Service for a “Cross-Connection Violation” Why have I received this and what do I need to prevent my water from being shut off?
If you have received a Notice of Disconnection of Water Service for a “Cross-Connection Violation” it is because Fairfax County Land Development Services has notified Fairfax Water of a Cross-Connection violation that has yet to be resolved. This could be because you have not submitted required annual test reports for backflow assemblies or have a hazardous plumbing configuration that is in violation of the Fairfax Water Cross‑Connection Control and Backflow Prevention requirements, Virginia Construction Code, and/or the Virginia Department of Health Waterworks Regulations.
To prevent your water from being shut off, please contact Fairfax County Land Development Services as soon as possible at: LDSCrossConnectionProgram@fairfaxcounty.gov
What is a cross-connection?
A cross-connection is a link between potable water pipes to unsafe, unknown pipes, and/or liquid.
For example, a garden hose attached to a hose bib with the outlet end submerged in a pond or swimming pool. If Fairfax Water’s supply pressure drops, the water from the pond or pool can be suctioned into the drinking water supply. This water can contaminate the customer’s water system as well as the Fairfax Water potable water system, possibly exposing nearby customers.
What is cross-connection control and why is it important?
The methods, practices and procedures used to prevent contamination or pollution of drinking water from backflow through cross-connections is called cross-connection control. It ensures that your drinking water remains safe from bacteria, chemicals, and other substances that may enter the water from unknown or improperly maintained sources because of abnormal pressure changes.
What is backflow?
Backflow is the undesirable reversal of the normal flow of water or other liquids, mixtures, or substances into the drinking water supply.
This occurs in two ways.
- Backsiphonage: When a drop in Fairfax Water’s supply pressure creates a suction effect drawing water out of a building, house, or other private plumbing system back into the Fairfax Water potable water system. Real examples that could lead to decreased supply pressure include opening or closing a valve, flushing a fire hydrant, or a water main break.
- Backpressure: When a building, house, or other private plumbing system with greater pressure than Fairfax Water’s supply pressure pushes water from the building, house, or private plumbing system back into the Fairfax Water potable water system. This can occur in a pressurized system with booster pumps, chemical feed pumps, boilers, elevated storage tanks, or recirculating systems.
How is backflow prevented?
Preventing backflow is a matter of avoiding the reverse flow of unwanted substances into the drinking water by using special plumbing devices and practices. Preventing backflow is accomplished by requiring physical plumbing methods (air-gaps) or requiring the installation of mechanical devices (backflow prevention assemblies or devices) designed specifically to prevent backflow within certain customer premises.
What is a backflow prevention device?
Any approved device, assembly, method, or type of construction intended to prevent backflow into a potable water system.
What is an “approved” backflow prevention device?
A physical means or mechanical device that has been tested and approved by a nationally recognized laboratory, organization or institute, such as the Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research, or the American Society of Sanitary Engineering.
Where in my home or business are backflow prevention devices typically found or required?
If you have a toilet with a tank on the back in your home or business, it contains a valve to fill the tank every time you flush. The fill valve, or “ballcock,” is equipped with an approved backflow prevention device that prevents any water in the tank from being siphoned back into the pipes of your house (anti-siphon). Plumbing codes require all water outlets to be equipped with a backflow prevention device to prevent contamination or pollution of the drinking water.
Therefore, all sinks have a space between the end of the faucet and the flood level of the sink called an air gap. Some sinks typically found in commercial businesses, such as a mop sink, are equipped with a backflow prevention device called an atmospheric vacuum breaker installed on the faucet.
All hose bibs (sillcocks) are required by code to have a special backflow prevention device installed called a hose connection vacuum breaker. This device prevents water in the hose from flowing backward into the pipes of your house.
All commercial fire-sprinkler systems are required to have backflow prevention devices installed.
In other types of commercial and industrial businesses, it is necessary to ensure the safety of Fairfax Water’s potable water system by requiring the installation of backflow prevention assemblies in the main water-service line to certain types of buildings. The types of backflow prevention devices installed at these locations can range in size from ¾ inch to 10 inches in diameter and cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and install.
These are just a few of the examples of where one might find backflow prevention devices in either a home or business.
Does my underground lawn sprinkler system require a backflow preventer?
Yes. All underground lawn and garden irrigation systems are required to have backflow prevention assemblies installed and routinely maintained. State law requires such assemblies to be tested at the time they are installed and yearly thereafter, as well as any time they are repaired or replaced.
How "hard" is our water?
Water hardness refers to the mineral content of water, commonly calcium and magnesium. Typically, our water is "moderately hard" to "hard" (5 - 10 grains per gallon, or 84 - 170 mg/l). Water hardness is naturally occurring and depends on the amount of minerals in our source waters: the Potomac River and Occoquan Reservoir. It may vary depending on location and the amount of rainfall.
Sometimes water hardness can cause a build-up of white residue on appliances or dishware. This white residue found is usually the result of the dissolved minerals found in water, such as calcium and magnesium. Mineral particles may also be visible in ice cubes made with tap water. These minerals are not a risk to human health but can build up on surfaces over time. Commercial products are available to remove white residue caused by minerals.
Why does tap water sometimes look milky or opaque?
During the time of year when the water coming into the house is colder than the temperature inside the house, this phenomenon can occur. Cold water holds more oxygen than warm water does, consequently when the cold water from the water mains outside come inside our warm homes, and the water begins to warm, the oxygen has to escape. It does so by bubbling out in air bubbles which makes the water look milky. A visual example of this is to run water into a clear container and observe for a short time. If the water clears from the bottom to the top of the container then the phenomenon described is occurring. The air bubbles are moving from the bottom to the top of the container to escape into the open atmosphere.
Here is a video example.
I live in an apartment and my water bill is included in my rent. How can I receive information concerning my tap water?
Fairfax Water publishes several information fliers that are included within the bill. Talk to your apartment manager and ask that any included information be posted for everyone to read. In addition, Fairfax Water's Annual Water Quality Report is sent to all addresses within our distribution system regardless if a bill is received at the address
How is the water tested, and by whom?
Fairfax Water’s Water Quality Laboratory, a state certified laboratory, performs or manages the testing required by State and Federal regulations. In addition to regulatory testing many other analyses are performed to monitor the water quality of the Authority’s raw sources, water within the treatment process, as well as within the distribution system. Water undergoing the treatment process is continuously monitored for pH, turbidity, coagulation efficiency, and disinfectant residuals through technically advanced on-line monitoring systems. Other testing, such as chlorine, pH, and temperature, is performed at the sample location site with portable instrumentation. The majority of the regulatory and water quality monitoring testing performed, which include Organic, Inorganic, Metals, and Bacteriological testing, are conducted at Fairfax Water’s laboratory using sophisticated instrumentation. Results for much of this testing are posted on Fairfax Water's website in its Annual Water Quality Report.
Who regulates drinking water quality?
Regulations are made by both federal and state agencies. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) passed by Congress in 1974 and amended in 1986 and 1996 is governed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Within the EPA, the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water administers the drinking water program under the Public Water Supply Supervision Program. Their functions include:
- Setting the maximum contaminant levels (MCL’s) for contaminants in drinking water and setting other requirements to ensure that drinking water is safe.
- Delegating primary enforcement responsibilities to the states. Monitoring state activities to ensure that regulations are being met.
- Operating the program in states that have not accepted primary enforcement responsibility.
- Providing for continued research on drinking water contaminants.
- Providing technical assistance to the states.
- Provided for in the SDWA, is the intent that states accept primary responsibility for enforcement of the states drinking water program (primacy). Under these provisions, each state must establish requirements for public water systems at least as stringent as those set by the EPA. In Virginia, the agency is the Virginia Department of Health.
In addition to the SDWA, the EPA has promulgated several specific rules to address various types of water contaminant problems. Some of these rules are: Surface Water Treatment Rule, Total Coliform Rule, and the Lead and Copper Rule.
Is the fluoride in my drinking water safe?
In correct amounts, added and naturally occurring fluoride has improved the dental health of American consumers. Fairfax Water’s current treatment target is 0.7 mg/L of fluoride.
Do I need to treat the tap water in any way before I place fish in an aquarium?
Fairfax Water uses chlorine for disinfection purposes, which can be harmful to fish if not dechlorinated prior to placing fish in it. Fairfax Water utilizes two types of chlorine, free chlorine and chloramines (chlorine and ammonia mixture). Chloramines are normally used July - March, and free chlorine is generally used April - June. Free chlorine and chloramine dechlorination is performed differently. Chemical additives with directions for dechlorinating either free chlorine or chloramine from water for use in fish tanks or ponds are available at pet/fish supply stores.
What is the white residue sometimes found on items such as coffee pots, irons, shower doors, glassware, and cookware?
The white residues are minerals that are found in the water such as calcium. Overtime and repeated water use there may be a build-up of the minerals on any item the water comes in contact with. There are commercial products that can be purchased to rid the surface of mineral build-up.
Sometimes ice cubes made from the tap water, or the melted water from ice cubes contains white particles. What are these particles and where do they come from?
Ice cubes freeze from the outside in. Ice is formed from pure water (hydrogen and oxygen) therefore the minerals such as calcium and magnesium normally found in the water sometimes end up as visible particulates in the core of the ice cube. The white particles are not toxic.
Is it okay to use water from the hot water tap for drinking, cooking, or making baby formula?
Hot water generally comes from a hot water heater that may contain impurities that should not be ingested. Some of these impurities might be metals from household plumbing that are concentrated in the heating process. Additionally, these impurities from the household plumbing dissolve more rapidly in hot water than cold water causing the amount of impurities to be higher in hot water.
Can I store drinking water indefinitely and it continue to be safe to drink?
The disinfectant in drinking water will eventually dissipate even in a closed container. If that container housed bacteria prior to filling up with the tap water the bacteria may continue to grow once the disinfectant has dissipated. Some experts believe that water could be stored up to six months before needing to be replaced. Refrigeration will help slow the bacterial growth.
I sometimes get a pink stain on my bathroom fixtures, and in my pet’s water bowl. What is it and how do I get rid of it?
The pink stain (sometimes slimy in the way it feels) is generally a mixture of non-pathogenic bacteria. These bacteria are believed to be airborne and multiply in damp environments. Commercial cleansers containing bleach are effective in killing the bacteria and getting rid of the stain.
Is water with chlorine in it safe to drink?
Testing has proven that the amount of chlorinated disinfectants found in drinking water is safe to drink.
Is the amount of chemicals found in the drinking water harmful?
In fact some chemicals like fluoride are added to the drinking water to directly benefit the consumer. Minerals may also be beneficial and many chemicals have no adverse effects on public health.
How are bacteria that can make people sick kept out of drinking water?
Chemicals called disinfectants are added to drinking water at the treatment plant. Fairfax Water’s primary disinfectant is chlorine and its chemical compounds. Chloramine, the combination of ammonia and chlorine, form a stable bond that keeps a disinfectant residual throughout the entire distribution system. During the spring months, Fairfax Water performs its annual flushing. While that program is in progress, the disinfectant is changed to free chlorine. Free Chorine is an aggressive disinfectant that aids in the disinfection of the flushed water mains. Fairfax Water is also beginning to utilize ozone as a disinfectant. The use of ozone will allow the amount of chloramine and free chlorine added in the treatment process to be reduced.
Can water straight from the tap be used in home kidney dialysis machines?
Tap water must go through further treatment in order to be used in a dialysis machine. Because the water comes into close contact with a patient’s blood, several substances like aluminum, fluoride, and chloramines must be removed from the water before it can be used.
Is it safe to drink water from a garden hose?
Substances used in vinyl garden hoses to keep them flexible can get into the water as it passes through the hose. These substances are not good for you or your pets. There are hoses made with “food–grade” plastic that will not contaminate the water. Check your local hardware store for this type of hose.
How much notice does Fairfax Water need to stop water service?
One business day. For more information, see click here.
How much notice does Fairfax Water need to set up water service?
One business day. For more information, see click here.
Who should I contact for plumbing code recommendations?
Please contact the jurisdiction respective to the property address.
Land & Development Services at 703.631.5101
City of Falls Church:
Building Safety Division at 703.248.5080
City of Fairfax:
Code Administration & Fire Department at 703.385.7830
Why is my water off?
Although service interruptions are rare, they can be caused by water main breaks, power outages, nonpayment of bills, and, during extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures, frozen water meters. Please call our Customer Service department at 703.698.5800 if you are without water. Our after hours number is 703.698.5613.
Can Fairfax Water help me determine if I have a leak?
Yes. If our description of how to check for leaks (click here) has not resolved the question for you, you can call our Customer Service department at 703.698.5800.
Can Fairfax Water recommend a plumber?
We do not endorse or keep an "approved list" of plumbers. We recommend that you carefully select a plumber by checking references, comparing prices, and using information available from consumer affairs organizations.
Water Main Break
What happens when a water main breaks?
When a main break occurs, Fairfax Water’s top priority is to return service to our affected customers as quickly as possible. Once a possible water main break is reported, a Service Technician is immediately dispatched to the site to determine if it is a main break and to set up safety equipment.
When a break occurs the crew determines if the water must be shut off immediately or if there is time to notify impacted customers prior to shutting off the water. If the break is causing property damage or hazardous road conditions, the water is shut off immediately. The crew locates and closes nearby valves to isolate the broken main from the water system, closing the valves closest to the break to minimize service disruptions to customers.
Fairfax Water then notifies MISS Utility of the impending excavation so the water main and other utilities near the water main break can be identified. Once MISS Utility has been notified, it could take up to 3 hours for all of the other utilities to be located and marked. Repair work cannot begin until all other utilities in the area are identified so the crew does not damage them while conducting repairs.
After the utility lines are marked, excavation can begin. Construction equipment helps to remove most of the ground above the pipe and a pump helps to remove water from the excavated trench. Most Fairfax Water pipes are buried from three to 10 feet below ground so, depending on the depth, additional measures may need to be taken to ensure the safety of the workers, which can extend the time it takes to repair a break.
Once the pipe is exposed, crews can begin to repair or replace the broken main. When the repair is complete, crews open up a nearby hydrant to flush air and debris from the pipe before reconnecting it to the system. It can take a while for large mains to refill and restore system pressures. Next, the repair crew backfills the trench with gravel and prepares the road for patching. Workers use cold mix asphalt as a temporary patch until Fairfax Water’s appointed contractor can permanently repave the road. Depending upon the weather and the contractor’s schedule this can take up to a month in some cases. We appreciate your patience during this process.
We recognize the inconvenience that a main break can cause and we strive to restore service as quickly as we can. If possible, crews will use a hose feed to provide water service to areas affected by the main break. Fortunately, Fairfax Water has fewer main breaks than many other utilities and we repair the breaks and restore service in an average of four hours. But as you can see, repair times can be affected by many factors and it is vital that our crews take the time to execute each step properly to avoid further damage and to ensure the safety of the community and the workers.
Click here to view a water main break repair!
How do I report a water main break?
To report a water main break or other water-related emergency, please click here or use the e-mail address: email@example.com or you can call us at: 703.698.5613, TTY 711.
What causes water main breaks?
Water main breaks are caused by a variety of factors, including freezing or severe weather, pipe corrosion, soil conditions, age, ground movement, or being struck by heavy equipment. Fairfax Water’s distribution system is relatively young, which minimizes main breaks caused by age. Although the Fairfax Water system is still young, the Board of Directors dedicates funding on an annual basis to ensure that the system can be upgraded and replaced as needed without placing a financial or service burden on our customers. As a result, Fairfax Water experiences fewer water main breaks annually than many other water utilities.
Is there anything I need to do when my water service is restored?
In many cases it is necessary to interrupt water service to homes in the area around a water main break. Unfortunately, interrupting your water service may stir up sediment in the pipe and cause water containing this sediment to enter nearby homes. Also air may get entrapped in the lines. If the water service is interrupted in your neighborhood, you can help in removing the air from the lines and prevent sediment clogs by removing the aerators from sinks and washing machines and running the water for a few minutes to flush your pipes.