City honored for water quality

By Tom Joyce -

Quality water from a public source is not something to be taken for granted – just ask residents of Flint, Michigan – but Mount Airy residents can be assured of a safe supply.

Proof of that has come not only from the tasting, but the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. It has announced that Mount Airy’s two water plants are among 56 individual water systems being honored for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards.

The F.G. Doggett Water Plant and the S.L. Spencer Water Plant are among facilities receiving the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award from the state environmental department. The awards program is part of an initiative to enhance the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities, which include hundreds of municipal systems across the state.

While all drinking water systems must adhere to strict state and federal standards, Mount Airy’s and the other systems receiving the award met performance goals that are significantly more stringent.

“We are very proud of this recognition,” Mount Airy Public Works Director Jeff Boyles commented in reaction to the award announcement.

This recognition reflects an ongoing effort, according to Boyles.

“Our goal is not to just meet the minimum standards of the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and state regulators, but to far exceed that level and provide the best water to our citizens that is technically feasible,” the public works director added of the standard achieved.

“We think it’s due to two factors: the high-quality water we start with from the mountains and foothills of the Blue Ridge, and the knowledge and dedication of our water-treatment personnel as they work to ensure we deliver a superior product to our customers.”

Mount Airy also received the same award in 2013 for its Doggett and Spencer water plants. No other municipality in Surry County was cited this year.

Only two other systems in this area — those of the town of Wilkesboro and the R.A. Thomas Water Treatment Plant in Winston-Salem — were among the 56 recently awarded.

In addition to the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award, “Gold Star” honors went to facilities that have received the award for 10 or more consecutive years. Those include Newton, Two Rivers Utilities in Gastonia, Lincolnton and Marion.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

By Tom Joyce

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