Every two years the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation performs an extensive Sanitary Survey of water departments across the state to review documents pertaining to operational performance and an actual onsite inspection of the distribution system.
In the city’s latest survey, the water department has made a perfect score.
“Every two years, the State of Tennessee will score the water system,” said Water Department Director Bryan Pennington. “They look at paperwork; they go out in the field and check quality items.”
Basically, it’s an overall measure of how well the water system is operated. The survey is quite extensive, Pennington said. Auditors go through all the records that the department generates for last two years. Works regularly document qualitative checks such as sample taps with bacteriological, hydrostatic tests to make sure that the quality of the work and the quality of the water within the work is appropriate.
“The state is very precise in what they require” Pennington said. “It requires a collective effort of everybody that works out here.”
Pennington explained that for every job (new and repair work), records must be kept down to the work order and from the testing. Repairs or new instillations are performed almost daily, generating a mountain of paperwork to be maintained.
“The state comes in to make sure that all the water systems are operating within the approved parameters,” he said.
Points are compiled for a possible 421 points available.
Distribution Manager Dana Douglas noted, “If you fail to meet the reporting requirements of the state, your point deduction can range from 4 to 30 on your survey. You could miss one category and have an unapproved water system.”
There’s a lot of data that goes into one report, Pennington added.
“It reflects on the water system that we have. (This score) makes us extremely happy,” he said.
“You don’t get a lot of hundreds. You strive for them, but when you get one you feel good about,” Pennington said, giving credit to all of his employees for making the score possible.
The Manchester Water Department provides each customer a water quality report as required by state law (also at cityofmanchester.com).
According to the report, “The water provided to the (water department) by the Duck River Utility Commission “has never exceeded the limits for any regulated compound or substance as established by the State of Tennessee or U.S. EPA.”
Pennington cautioned customers to be leery of social media adds claiming there are impurities in the water, and he added that home water filters are generally not needed and if not maintained they could add potential contamination into the customer’s drinking water.