ABINGDON, Va. — For the 12th consecutive year, the Washington County Service Authority (WCSA) has earned a Gold Award in operations and performance excellence from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Drinking Water. The recognition is the highest ranking bestowed to water utilities.
WCSA was honored as part of the VDH Office of Drinking Water’s 2021 Excellence in Waterworks Operations/Performance Awards. The water utility received the award for the Middle Fork Drinking Water Plant following a 12-month analysis of data by the VDH Office of Drinking Water.
The award was presented to WCSA staff on May 5 at the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (RCAP), Inc., Water is Life! 2022 event in Roanoke, Virginia.
Each year, through Virginia’s Optimization Program, the VDH recognizes drinking water plants that perform above and beyond minimum standards by optimizing and running their treatment process efficiently and effectively. The primary purpose of the program is to reduce risks to public health associated with drinking water.
“The Gold Award recognizes the hard work and dedication of our Middle Fork team to provide the highest-quality drinking water for our customers every day throughout the year, and it’s a tremendous honor to have earned it for the past 12 years,” says Robbie Cornett, general manager of WCSA. “This award demonstrates the commitment of our highly trained employees and their desire to make a difference for our customers throughout our service area by providing drinking water that meets or exceeds the standards set forth by the VDH.”
Of the 127 conventional surface water treatment plants evaluated by the VDH during 2021, WCSA was among 46 that received a gold award, while 38 received silver awards.
“The Gold Award for Performance Excellence recognizes efficiency and effectiveness goals that go well beyond regulatory standards,” says Eric R. Herold, P.E., VDH district engineer for the Mount Rogers Planning District. “WCSA has the largest permitted capacity and serves the largest number of service connections in the Mount Rogers Planning District. WCSA has consistently been a top performer in the Virginia Optimization Program, and was one of 24 plants across Virginia and eight in the Mount Rogers Planning District to receive a perfect score for 2021.”
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 conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Water Works 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.
More About WCSA
WCSA serves approximately 23,000 water connections and 2,300 wastewater connections in Washington County, Virginia, and surrounding areas. The water system consists of an estimated 900 miles of water line, a 12-million-gallon-per-day surface water treatment plant, a 3.1-million-gallon-per-day membrane filtration plant, two springs, one well, 29 pump stations and 22 water storage tanks. The wastewater system consists of approximately 90 miles of wastewater collection lines, 29 lift stations and two wastewater treatment plants. For more information about WCSA, visit www.wcsawater.com.