The City’s Percy D. Miller Water Treatment Plant received the 2018 Virginia Optimization Program Gold Award for its high-quality drinking water treatment from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Drinking Water. This is the highest possible ranking in operations excellence for water utilities and is based on a 12-month analysis of data. This is the first time the plant has achieved the gold award (2012-2017: Silver Award).
Achieving the Gold Award means the water treatment plant met certain levels of turbidity at least 95% of the time in tests taken in 15-minute intervals, 24/7/365. Turbidity is the measurement of the cloudiness of the water, therefore, the lower the turbidity the clearer the water. Turbidity is considered a good measure of the quality of water.
“Our goal every day is to provide our customers with the best and safest drinking water possible,” stated Perry Eisenach, City of Winchester Public Services Director. “We’re very proud to receive this award as it is recognition of the water treatment plant team’s hard work, dedication, attention to detail and excellent customer service. Providing safe and high-quality drinking water is an around-the-clock job, 24/7/365, and the team does a great job.”
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 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).”
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.