Culpeper water plant receives award

The Town of Culpeper Water System tied for first place as the System of the Year at an awards ceremony Tuesday by the Virginia Rural Water Association at it conference in Roanoke. The Town of Bluefield was the co-recipient.
The nomination noted several significant accomplishments that were completed during the past year without outside assistance.

“Water plant employees installed and implemented a complete disinfection system, switching from chlorine gas to liquid bleach,” said Chief Plant Operator John Morgan. “The staff installed the tanks, plumbing and electronic components for the system within the projected timeframe and under budget.” This in-house project saved the rate payers significant money versus contracting for this capital improvement. Switching to liquid bleach from gas chlorine is much safer for the community by eliminating the possibility of a chlorine gas leak.

The plant has also been a voluntarily participated in the Partnership for Safe Drinking Water for the past five years.
The plant achieved the Partnership 12-month goal for optimum clarity of treated water. But the town has done better than that. The water treatment plant has achieved this goal for 21 consecutive months and continues to meet this goal.
In addition, the town water plant has participated in the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water pilot program to reduce by-products from the disinfection process to treat water.

“This participation has resulted in a 40 percent reduction in the distribution system average for the concentration of disinfection by-products,” said Morgan.

The Virginia Rural Water Association, founded in 1987, is a private non-profit association of small rural water and wastewater systems across the state. The VRWA sponsors training designed for smaller systems and also provides onsite technical and managerial assistance in a number of areas.
Culpeper has received several VRWA awards in the past. In 2010, Linda Skinner received the Office Worker of the Year award. Robert Hester was the recipient of the 2011 Operator of the Year award, along with Geoffery Green named as Rookie of the Year. Last year, Paula Byers received the Laboratory Technician of the Year Award.
The Town of Culpeper serves 6,462 customers. The water plant is designed to treat 4 million gallons of water per day. The town has seven full-time operators, who run the plant 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This is quite an honor,” said Acting Town Manager Chris Hively. “The town should be proud of our water plant operation and the employees who work so diligently provide clean water to all our citizens.”