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franklin county times

City water honored for quality

Russellville grade four water plant operator Darren Pounders tests water quality as manager Doug Clement and assistant manager Lee Parker look on.

Everyone knows that water is one of the most basic elements of survival.
We all use it on a daily basis, so sometimes its use just becomes common place and we don’t give it a second thought when we wash our hands, grab a cool drink of water, or indulge in a relaxing bath after a long, tiring day. It’s just water, after all. It’s always there, right? Why think about something that’s always there?
But what many people don’t realize is there is a very sophisticated and high-tech process that’s involved in making sure the water that flows into every residence and business is pure and clean.
It’s not an easy task to meet the standards for clean water as set forth by federal and state agencies, and it’s an even harder task to far exceed these standards, but Russellville Water and Sewer Board has shown recently that they will do whatever is necessary to make sure their customers get the best water they can provide.
According to Becky Allenbach, chief of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Branch of the Water Protection Division, Russellville Water and Sewer Board achieved the Area-Wide Optimization Program’s (AWOP) performance goals for 2011 as set forth by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).
Allenbach said in a statement that the achievement provides Russellville Water customers with enhanced protection against waterborne disease outbreaks – something that could be devastating to a town if water resources had to be cut off for days at a time.
Doug Clement, the manager of Russellville Water and Sewer Board, said the achievement is something he is very proud of because it shows the dedication of the employees in his department.
“In all my years of working here, I have never seen anything but professionalism out of the people who work to make the city’s drinking water the best it can be,” Clement said. “The water plant operators – Darren Pounders, Ed Crouch, Michael Langley and chief operator Tony Barber; the distribution crew, and anyone who has a hand in this should be commended for receiving this recognition. It’s not something that all water systems receive, so this is a great accomplishment for us.”
Darren Pounders, a grade four water plant operator for Russellville, said there are many different processes that happen from the time the water is pumped from Lake Elliott to the purification process at the water plant to distributing the water throughout the city.
“We do testing every day to check for certain things in the water,” Pounders said. “We have alarms built in to alert us to any differences in the water samples we take, which helps ensure we catch anything here at the plant before the water leaves our facility to go out to the customers.”
Lee Parker, assistant water manager, said the water plant treats approximately four to five million gallons of water each day.
“With that much water going through the system, the advanced technology we have helps us maintain our standards and keep our customers safe,” he said.
Last year alone, Clement said Russellville Water treated 1.16 billion gallons of water without any problems or incidents.
“Our system meets or exceeds every standard,” Clement said, “and our main goal for the standards we keep is to make sure our customers receive the best product.
“It all comes down to meeting the needs of the customer, and we’re just proud to know our water has been recognized as top quality.”