About Us (Old)

 Office of Drinking Water Overview

Mission StatementOffice of Drinking Water logo

We protect public health and help ensure all Virginians have a safe and adequate supply of drinking water.

We accomplish this mission by:

1. serving as Virginia’s advocate for safe drinking water
2. monitoring drinking water quality
3. applying engineering judgment
4. providing technical assistance and training with respect to all drinking water issues
5. financing improvements to drinking water systems, seeking funding sources for drinking water projects
6. enforcing drinking water regulations and standards of the Virginia Public Water Supply Law and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act


First Sanitation Law in Virginia
• Jamestown
• May 24, 1610
• First attempt at maintaining a clean water supply

Water Quality from a Historical Perspective
• At the turn of the 20th Century in America, Typhoid fever killed 36 out of 100,000 people
• In 1908, New Jersey began to use Chlorine as a primary disinfectant which helped to decrease deaths caused from drinking water

ODW Timeline

1908 – Virginia Department of Health created

1910 – Bureau of Sanitary Engineering created
• Responsible for public water supplies, sewage treatment, swimming pools
• Allowed to adopt, promulgate, and enforce rules and regulations for the protection of the public health

1910 – 90 waterworks in Virginia

1916 – 1st waterworks permit issued to Martinsville

1934 – First Short School Offered

1946 – State Water Control Board created

1972 – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed
• Federal intervention to help cleaning up the environment

1974 – Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) issued
• Virginia needed to obtain “primacy” in order to remain as the primary regulatory authority

1974 – Virginia Waterworks Regulations were adopted

1977 – Virginia received primacy for SDWA

1997 – Virginia received Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

2003 – Office of Drinking Water established