A division of the Washington County Service Authority (WCSA) achieved the highest possible ranking in operations excellence for water utilities in 2011, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The WCSA’s Middle Fork drinking water plant was one of 18 conventional water treatment plants out of 130 in Virginia that received a gold award following a12-month analysis of data by the VDH Office of Drinking Water.
Each year, through Virginia’s Optimization Program, the VDH recognizes drinking water plants that perform above and beyond minimum standards, optimizing their treatment process and running it efficiently and effectively. The primary purpose of the program is to reduce the risks to public health associated with drinking water.
WCSA’s Middle Fork plant, along with 17 others statewide, earned a performance score of 20 in the judging criteria, with 20 being the highest possible score.
“A number one ranking means this water is three times cleaner than the standards require,” says Charles Rest, VDH District Two engineer and chairman of the Virginia Optimization Program. “WCSA is one of only 18 plants in the state that earned a perfect score.”
The mission of Virginia’s Optimization Program is “to encourage waterworks to provide water with a quality that exceeds minimum regulatory standards (i.e., as perfect as possible) and to operate water systems in an exemplary manner (i.e., as effective and functional as possible).”
“To achieve this top ranking is a monumental accomplishment, and we are proud of our record in supplying safe water to our customers,” says Robbie Cornett, general manager of WCSA. “Our first priority at WCSA is always to provide the highest quality drinking water – and the best in customer service – to the citizens of Washington County.”
Over a period of time, through research and plant performance studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, American Waterworks Association and the waterworks industry, the VDH has developed performance goals for clarification and filtration processes in surface water treatment plants. For Virginia’s Optimization Program, drinking water programs throughout the commonwealth submit monthly operation reports containing operational data.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2013, the WCSA serves approximately 21,500 water connections and approximately 2,072 wastewater connections in Washington County, Va., and surrounding areas. The water system consists of approximately 900 miles of water line, a 6.6-million-gallon-per-day surface water treatment plant, a 2.5-million-gallon-per-day membrane filtration plant, two springs, one well, 26 pump stations and 20 water storage tanks. The wastewater system consists of approximately 70 miles of wastewater collection lines, 27 lift stations and two wastewater treatment plants. For more information, visit www.wcsawater.com.