GATE CITY — The Gate City Water Department was one of a handful that were recognized statewide by the Virginia Department of Health late last week for exceeding all state water quality regulations in 2011.
Gate City’s water treatment plant, along with 10 others in the state, was given a Gold Award for 2011 from the VDH Office of Drinking Water for achieving the state’s optimization program goals of maintaining excellence in clarification, filtration and backwash procedures.
According to the Office of Drinking Water, those earning the awards produced water that is at least three times cleaner than required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Gate City water treatment plant supervisor Loretta Cruby said the department was given the award after posting 100 percent scores in each category over the course of a year.
“Our water is the best it can be,” Cruby said. “We are in the top in the state as far as water treatment plants go.
“We’re all really proud of this. We want to make sure above all that the water is safe to drink and the best it can be. The operators have worked extremely hard and stayed on top of it, the town’s public works department has done an excellent job also, and everybody works together.”
The town last received a Gold Award in 2007. Since that time, Gate City has been recognized with Silver Awards for meeting two of the three standards set out by the Office of Drinking Water.
Cruby said the quality of the town’s water should continue at its current level thanks to system improvements that are either currently under way or in the planning stages.
Gate City Town Manager Jeremy Keller said these awards are important for the town because it not only improves quality of life, but also helps foster more growth.
“That’s just one less thing our residents and businesses have to worry about,” Keller said. “When you come to Gate City, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll have good water or not.”
Other local water treatment plants receiving awards from the Office of Drinking Water included St. Paul (Gold), Scott County Public Service Authority-Duffield (Silver), Coeburn (Silver), Appalachia (Silver), Jonesville (Silver) and Pennington Gap (Silver).