Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

May 7, 2014

Tapping into Savings

Valdosta celebrates National Drinking Water Week

VALDOSTA — Before Mayor John Gayle grabbed a refreshing glass of ice water Tuesday, he proclaimed this week as National Drinking Water Week for the City of Valdosta, at the water treatment plant off of Guest Road.

Citizens can save on average about $1,400 a year if they drink their recommended eight glasses of water from the tap, rather than from bottled water, Sementha Mathews, city public information officer, said. She advises citizens to take advantage of the tap water because their tax dollars pay for the facility, the service, and the water quality.

Georgia Association of Water Professionals designated the city’s water treatment plant as the 2013 Water Treatment Plant of the Year in the category for groundwater systems that pump more than 10 million gallons daily.

“Every day, thousands of water customers in our city turn on their faucets with little thought to the water that streams out and how it moves from its initial source through the treatment process and ultimately to our taps,” said Director of Utilities Henry Hicks. “National Drinking Water Week is a great opportunity to take time to reflect on how essential safe drinking water is to our everyday lives.”

The plant is operated by 11 employees who work to ensure that the city’s water is in compliance with both state and federal regulations. At the plant, staff checks to ensure the water is free of 90 regulated contaminants.

“This is very important. This is how we know that our water, that we provide to the city and the citizens of Valdosta is safe to drink,” Jason Barnes,

water treatment plant assistant superintendent, said.

Throughout the city, staff checks 60 different sites monthly to ensure quality water throughout the 390-mile distribution system.

“The City of Valdosta is proud to provide quality water services to our customers for public health purposes, fire protection, economic development and the quality of life of our citizens,” said City Manager Larry Hanson. “Any measure of a successful community is in some way related to access to safe water, and we are proud of the water treatment plant personnel who are responsible for bringing Valdosta water customers quality drinking water daily.”

To commemorate the week, the city provides educational drinking water facts to local school-aged students and the general public. Group tours of the Valdosta Water Treatment Plant may be arranged throughout the week by calling the Public Information Office, (229) 259-3548.

More information on National Drink Water Week, visit water.epa.gov/drink/drinkingwaterweek.

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