Frequently Asked Questions - Public Utilities

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Check your faucet screens and valves for possible clogging, then check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing any similar problems. If so, call the Public Utilities Billing office at 540-434-6783 or the Operations Center at 540-434-9959 for further recommendations.

Check all of your valves, especially your main valve, and check your faucet screens. Then call the Public Utilities Billing Office at 540-434-6783 so a city service professional can determine the problem. The problem may be in the city line. You will be told if you need to have your pipes checked by a plumber. The City cannot pay for your plumber service.

Many dripping faucets can be remedied by changing a washer. If the leak persists, call a plumber – leaks can become expensive. All usage and maintenance fees are the responsibility of the customer.


A commode that continually runs is an expensive water waster. By placing household food coloring into the tank of the commode, they can determine if water is running. If you do have a problem, you must employ a plumber. All customers must pay usage and maintenance fees.

You may submit an application for water and sewer service in person or by mail.

If you decide to come in person, the Public Utilities Department is located at 2155 Beery Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. 

You may complete the application first online but will also need picture identification, a copy of the front and back signature page of your lease, and a letter of credit or pay the corresponding security deposit. James Madison University students may use the Utility Deposit Application Program (UDAP) contract in lieu of paying the security deposit.

No. However, you can purchase another connection, a second meter, for the exclusive purpose of water usage for lawn care, avoiding a sewer fee. There is a connection fee for this meter however.


Check for running commodes and leaking faucets, garden hoses, etc. Then call the Public Utilities Billing Office at 540-434-9959. Explain your problem. Someone will reread your meter and listen for leaks in your line.

After obtaining a permit at the Water Operations Center you will be given the necessary equipment to protect the hydrant and water system during usage. Fire Hydrant Use Policy.


No. There can be no backflow connection between a public and private water supply. Virginia Waterworks Regulations dictate the conditions with some permitted exemptions.

First, do not run any water into the fixtures and call the Public Utilities Operations Center 540-434-9959 or the emergency response number.

It could be a problem with a city sewer line. You will be told by a city employee if you need to call a plumber. If you call a plumber first and it turns out to be a city problem, you will not be reimbursed for the plumber's fees.

Some discharges are illegal while others are approved through special permits.

In general, contact the Water Operations Center at 540-434-9959 for information about restrictions or necessary permits.

The City ordinance prohibits connecting drain spouts or drain pumps to your sanitary sewer building lines. Unpolluted water should be routed to storm drainage systems. Misdemeanor charges and monthly surcharges are enforcement actions which are available to the Department of Public Utilities.

Options for filling your swimming pool:

  1. Use water from your existing water meter. Water and sewer rates apply.
  2. Install a separate water meter for outside use.  Contact Public Utilities at 540-434-9959 for an estimate. Once installed, you have the flexibility of using water for any outside use at your convenience. No sewer charges apply.

Discharging Water from your pool

Due to the chlorine and chemicals used, pool water is contaminated and must be disposed through the city’s sanitary sewer system for treatment and discharge. Sewage charges are applied to all pool applications unless you qualify for an exemption. Qualifications for exemptions are determined by the Public Utilities Director.

**Water customers should contact Public Utilities at 540-434-9959 for advice.

Improper access to meter boxes will cause damage. You will be held responsible for damage caused by you or your plumber.

Contact the Billing Department 540-434-6783  for assistance to access your meter box.

Contact the Operations Center 540-434-9959  to have a meter box moved.

Relocation of meter boxes, if performed to accommodate building or landscaping, will be billed to the customer.