Award-winning water doesn’t get old

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 11:13 AM

Henderson’s Kerr Lake Regional Water System learned this week that they once again received an award from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources as surpassing federal and state drinking water standards.

Kerr Lake is one of 49 recognized for the 2012 calendar year among a total of 150 surface water systems, according to Sarah Young, a public information officer for DENR.

Christy Lipscomb, the director for Kerr Lake Regional, said that while the recognition may be an advantage for drawing new businesses to the area, their focus is on customers and, “the best tasting water in North Carolina.”

Libscomb said they do the testing and the reporting because that is how they can prove a superior product.

“It instills faith in us by our customers,” she said. “Our aim is to provide them with the best water.”

Young said the state started the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award program in 2003, recognizing water systems that exceed the strictest drinking water standards.

Kerr Lake has been awarded yearly for at least the past three years, according to the N.C. Division of Water Resources’ Public Water Supply section office.

“These are systems that went way above and beyond what they are supposed to,” Young said. “We determine that based on sample results, based on criteria we set.”

Young said awards are given annually to the systems that demonstrate outstanding turbidity removal, a key test of drinking water quality.

“It is a voluntary program that they can choose to participate in,” Young said. “They send in reports. Many of them are done quarterly, testing various things.”

The award program is part of an ongoing effort to enhance the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities, according to Young.

Young explained that 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.

Although microbes occur naturally, they can potentially include harmful bacteria and viruses, she added.

All drinking water systems are required to meet strict state and federal drinking water standards, Young said.

Lipscomb said they run tests and reports on about a monthly basis, and have been doing so since the award program began. She added that Kerr Lake has not yet failed to be on the award list.

“So far, so good,” she said.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.