ongoing program activities
At West Virginia American Water,
source water protection is one of several important parts of our overall
approach to provide clean, safe water for our customers. We have significant
efforts underway to expand this program and surpass regulatory requirements.
Below are some highlights and progress updates for these initiatives.
Source Water Protection Plans
Public versions of the Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP) for each of our water
systems are posted
Source Water Assessment
We’ve partnered with Corona Environmental Consulting and the Water Research
Foundation to pioneer a new and innovative method to compile contaminant source
information. This consists of a Geographic Information System (GIS) map-based
tool called WaterSuite that collects information about potential sources of contamination from
various data sources and pulls it into a single contaminant information database
for a defined area of interest. The information can be updated on a regular basis
to include the latest information available and has dynamic search and reporting
Source Water Monitoring
We have developed a source water monitoring program that combines continuous
water quality indicator monitoring with advanced organics analyses to optimize
treatment operations and identify the presence of potential contaminants.
Federal and state regulators, along with industry experts, have
recommended online, multi-panel water quality monitoring devices as an effective
option for detection of source water contamination. You can find the WV
Department of Health and Human Resources fact sheet on Source Water Contaminant
Virginia American Water conducted a thorough analysis of available technologies
based on these recommendations and prepared a
Report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance. We have selected and installed monitoring
equipment at each of our treatment facility intakes at a cost of approximately
$30,000 per facility. These devices are not intended to identify specific
contaminants, but rather to alert water systems of a potential change in water
quality, spurring further investigative testing.
We are partnering with international experts on an advanced event detection
system for the online monitoring equipment that is capable of identifying
statistical changes apart from baseline conditions that could indicate the
presence of contamination. We are conducting baseline monitoring to allow for natural and seasonal variability in source water quality and are currently in the process of evaluating and calibrating an event detection system using baseline conditions.
West Virginia American Water has also developed internal capability to test
for volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds using
technologically advanced laboratory equipment. We constructed a $400,000
laboratory at the Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant in 2014 with two gas
chromatograph / mass spectrometers and hired a skilled laboratory technician to
operate this equipment on a regular basis. In 2016, we added a flame ionization detector to our Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant for additional monitoring of fuels and oils. Our Kanawha Valley and Huntington
facilities are the only water treatment plants in West Virginia with this
advanced equipment and testing capability.
Alternate Water Sources
We commissioned a detailed engineering report to evaluate options for
alternate sources of supply including backup intakes, raw water storage tanks
and reservoirs, interconnections with other water systems, and groundwater
supplies. The report presents the available options for each of our water
treatment plants, along with an estimate of the capital investment that would be
required to implement each option.
Kanawha River Study
As part of this report, we partnered with Potesta & Associates, Inc. to
conduct water and sediment sampling at several locations along the Kanawha River
to evaluate its suitability as a secondary source of supply for the Kanawha
Valley Treatment Plant. A total of 24 sampling events were conducted from June
2015 to June 2016 with comprehensive laboratory analyses for over 200 different
chemicals and indicator parameters.
For more information about this study, click
Contingency and Communications Plan
Water utilities can develop strategies to understand and manage risks to
source water supplies, but no water utility can prevent the occurrence of
chemical releases, power outages or natural disasters. That is why it is
important to have emergency response plans in order to help facilities respond
to a wide variety of potential emergency situations. We have emergency response
plans in place, which are protected from public disclosure by bioterrorism laws
put in place for the safety and security of water systems nationwide.
The following diagram shows our general approach to responding to a source water contamination event.
Our new emergency alert system, CodeRED, is a high-speed mass notification
system to keep customers informed about water-related emergencies. Customers
currently receive notifications through automated phone calls, and we are
expanding our communication capability to include text and e-mail by the end of
2016. Alerts sent through the CodeRED system are available on the “Alert
Notifications” page on our website, along with a map of the impacted area. To
ensure that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, log on to our web self
service portal (
www.amwater.com/myaccount) and confirm or update your contact
Public Outreach and Education
Our source water protection program includes an outreach component to educate the
community about their sources of drinking water and things that everyone can do to
protect and improve them. We use various outreach methods including:
Water Quality Reports
Environmental Grant Program
Community service projects
Plant tours and events
Water Learning Center
For more information about our community involvement programs and to request a plant
tour, speaker or H2O On the Go, click here.