The City’s Percy D. Miller Water Treatment Plant received the 2020 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. The plant first achieved the Gold Award in 2018, and received the Silver Award in 2019 and 2012-2017.
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.
“This Gold Award is formal recognition of the hard work, dedication and attention to detail our water plant team provides the community every day, 24/7/365,” stated Perry Eisenach, City of Winchester Public Services Director. “We strive to provide the best and safest drinking water possible for our customers and our team takes that goal very seriously.”
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.