Mount Airy officials continually promote the quality of the city’s drinking water, and that has been backed up by a new state report.
The municipality’s two water-treatment plants are among 69 such facilities in North Carolina honored for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards in 2017. In addition, the treatment plants in Pilot Mountain and Elkin made the list.
Those and other facilities were tapped to receive the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award, which is part of a statewide effort to enhance the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities. The annual award is given by the N.C. Division of Water Resources through its Public Water Supply section.
While all drinking water systems must meet strict state and federal standards, those that were awarded met performance goals that are significantly more stringent. North Carolina has nearly 6,000 regulated public water systems in all, as listed by the state Division of Environmental Quality.
The two facilities in Mount Airy awarded are F.G. Doggett Water Plant in the Laurel Bluff community and S.L. Spencer Water Plant on Orchard Street.
“We are very proud of this recognition,” city Public Works Director Jeff Boyles commented Wednesday, a day after the awards were announced. “We think it’s indicative of the fact that we make every effort to protect the water supply for the city of Mount Airy.”
The awards received by the municipality are not just a one-year phenomenon, but are part of a long track record of similar successes.
Boyles pointed out that S.L. Spencer Water Plant previously received the same recognition in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
F.G. Doggett Plant was awarded in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
The 69 award-winning plants collectively served more than 3.8 million North Carolina residents during 2017.
Awards are given each year to water systems that demonstrate outstanding turbidity removal, a key test of drinking water quality.
Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by individual particles that can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Microbes are microscopic particles that occur naturally but can include harmful bacteria and viruses.
Four treatment facilities have been recognized by state officials with the “Gold Star” honor. It goes to systems that have received the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award for 10 consecutive years. They include Newton, Lincolnton, Marion and Henderson-Kerr Lake Regional Water Authority.
Boyles indicated that efforts undertaken in Mount Airy to achieve a high degree of water quality represent an ongoing commitment.
“We value the trust our citizens and customers place in us and work hard to maintain it,” the public works director added.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.