Central Arkansas Water recently found itself to be in compliance with federal and state drinking water regulations.
“Since the enactment of the federal law in 1974, we have had zero violations of the (Safe Drinking Water Act) for 38 years,” Graham Rich, the utility’s CEO, said.
Rich’s comments came as CAW released its 2011 water quality report to the general public.
He said during the past century water quality regulations have become more stringent, and CAW has been working to remain in compliance.
“The business of water treatment and delivery has become more complex, and our region has experienced tremendous population growth,” Rich said.
One of CAW’s main challenges is making sure the utility secures the future water needs of the 400,000 people who reside in Central Arkansas.
He said the utility wants to continue extending the availability of its existing water sources through watershed management and conservation — both of which are formal initiatives that under way.
SDWA mandates the public receive by July 1 of each year an annual report about its drinking water.
“The report specifically must contain information about the quality of your drinking water, the sources of your drinking water and our compliance with federal and state water standards,” according to the report.
SDWA requires that public water suppliers like CAW test or sample for up to 165 potential contaminants and limit the level of concentration at which substances may be present in the finished drinking water.
“The federally-monitored constituents range from lead and copper to coliform bacteria and disinfection by-products,” according to the report. “As an added measure, we monitor for other potential contaminants that, while not regulated, have been found in some drinking water supplies in the United States. This emerging group of constituents includes pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals.”
In an effort to maintain high water quality, CAW is continuing to implement the Lake Maumelle Watershed Management plan.
“Extensive research shows that assuring the highest quality of water must begin with the source, and CAW is leading water utilities across the nation in watershed management and protection,” according to the report.
CAW’s plan, adopted by its Board of Commissioners in 2007, follows a list of six strategies to protect Lake Maumelle, which include:
• Prohibiting wastewater discharges into the watershed.
• Controlling erosion and sediment with guidelines for new development in the watershed.
• Requiring set aside areas of undeveloped land in the watershed.
• Purchasing at least 1,500 additional acres in the watershed.
• Managing actively the 9,433 acres of CAW-owned lands within the watershed while also allowing for low- to non-impact public and recreational uses.
• Expanding water quality monitoring.
In 2011, CAW dedicated in its budget $1 million to the watershed management program, according to the report.
“A primary objective of the Lake Maumelle Watershed Management Plan is to ensure that as land development occurs it is in a manner that maintains the high water quality of Lake Maumelle, protects our drinking water, and ensures the continued viability of the lake as our primary water source for generations to come,” the report states.
According to the report, the CAW samples found no violations in its tests for inorganic substances, volatile organic substances, microbiological substances and disinfectants.
Samples taken for lead and copper were taken in 2010. The next required round of sampling is on schedule for 2013, according to the report.