An assessment of drinking water in 2011 by the Augusta Utilities Department found that the city’s three water treatment plants had no violations of federal and state water quality standards. Levels of fluoride, chlorine, lead, copper and other organic substances did not exceed the maximum contaminant level.
“Our water is high quality, it’s safe and it’s been tested to meet every parameter,” said Tom Wiedmeier, director of utilities.
The annual testing is performed to comply with the federal Safe Water Drinking Act, which requires states to implement source water assessment programs. Throughout the year, water samples are collected at treatment plants and water points throughout the system, such as homes and fire hydrants, Wiedmeier said.
“For chlorine, we want to make sure we don’t go too low or too high. With fluoride, we want to make sure we don’t go too high,” he said.
Water samples collected by the utilities department are either tested at the department’s lab or sent to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division lab, said Allen Saxon, the utility department’s assistant director for facility operations.
The water assessment results were published for the public and distributed with monthly water bills in March and April.
Saxon said Augusta’s drinking water is helped by high quality water sources. The Savannah River, which supplies water for the Highland and Max Hicks water treatment plants, and a ground water source in south Augusta have few pollutants or organic substances.
“Our waters that we start with are very good waters,” said Saxon, adding that having Lake Thurmond upstream helps the river water quality.
The Georgia Association of Water Professionals recognized Augusta for its drinking water quality at Tuesday’s city commission meeting. For 10 consecutive years, the Highland Treatment Plant was in perfect compliance with standards. Both the Max Hicks and groundwater treatment plants had zero violations for six consecutive years.