When customers of two local water systems turn on the tap, they can be assured they’re getting the best, according to a state agency that has issued awards for quality supplies.
The Spencer Water-Treatment Plant in Mount Airy and the Pilot Mountain water system are among 35 entities in North Carolina which are being honored for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards.
Those water systems have received the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award from the state Division of Water Resources’ Public Water Supply section. The awards are part of a program to enhance the performance of existing surface water-treatment facilities.
Honors go to water systems each year which demonstrate outstanding turbidity and microbial removal, two factors important in determining the drinking water quality. While all systems have to meet strict state and federal drinking water standards, the utility providers that are awarded met performance goals that are significantly more stringent.
Microbes are microscopic particles that occur naturally, but can potentially contain bacteria harmful to drink. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness in the water and can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality.
Reaction To Honor
“We just found out yesterday,” Marty Semones, assistant water treatment supervisor in Mount Airy, said Wednesday of the award for the Spencer plant.
That facility on Orchard Street is one of two water plants operated by the city, along with F.G. Doggett Water Plant in the Laurel Bluff community.
“We’ve got one parameter that’s keeping the Doggett plant from winning this, also,” Semones said of the various technical criteria involved. “We’re happy that the Spencer plant has received that (honor).”
Semones added that while water department personnel are pleased with the award, they will be even more so when both plants qualify.
“It’s nothing that hurts the water,” Semones said of the Doggett plant’s situation regarding state recognition. “It has nothing to do with the quality.”
A Pilot Mountain official also is happy about its water system achieving this distinction, saying it is a result of dedicated efforts by town employees.
“We do pride ourselves on having a good group of employees handling the water system,” Town Manager Homer Dearmin said Wednesday. “They do a fantastic job.”
Having a dependable water supply is something citizens have come to rely on, Dearmin said, without really considering all the efforts behind the scenes to make that possible — including testing, maintenance and other tasks.
“The public doesn’t get to see that or doesn’t understand — they just want to turn that knob,” the town manager said, “and see it come out of the faucet.”
Pilot Mountain’s recognition reflects the constant efforts of its personnel to maintain quality, Dearmin said.
“We’re required to send samples on a periodic basis from different points in the system,” he explained regarding one step involved.
Pilot Mountain’s water system is led by Superintendent John Martin, with four employees handling line-maintenance tasks.
Elkin’s municipal system also is among the 35 award recipients.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.