Central Arkansas Water (CAW) earlier this month released its 2013 Water Quality Report to its customers residing within the utility’s service area. The report, a requirement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), provides customers with information about the quality and sources of their drinking water.
During the most recent 12-month reporting period (Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013), CAW was in compliance with federal and state regulations for water quality.
"Central Arkansas Water is pleased to report that for the year of 2013, we were in compliance with federal and state regulations for drinking water quality," said Graham W. Rich, CEO of Central Arkansas Water. "This 2013 Water Quality Report contains important information about the quality and sources of your drinking water."
Since 1998, the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), through its Consumer Confidence Rule, has mandated that public water suppliers provide information about the drinking water provided to their customers by July 1 of every year. The annual report must include information on a utility’s water sources, treatment process, and the levels of potential contaminants that are found at detectable levels in the drinking water. Potential contaminants include substances such as lead, copper, and bacteria.
The SDWA requires monitoring and treatment of drinking water to ensure the protection of public health. Enforcement of the SDWA is the responsibility of USEPA and ADH.
CAW, the largest public water supplier in the state, serves a population of approximately 400,000 in the Central Arkansas region. For more information, visit www.carkw.com.
Over the last century, water quality regulations have become more stringent, the business of water treatment and delivery has become more complex, and our region has experienced tremendous population growth. Yet, Central Arkansas Water’s (CAW) commitment has remained the same: quality, reliability, and affordability.
This commitment requires securing the future water needs of our consumer population of 400,000 and extending the availability of our existing water sources through watershed management and conservation — both of which are formal initiatives that are currently under way.
"You are receiving this 2013 Water Quality Report in accordance with the Consumer Confidence Rule
of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)," reads the report. "This law of standards for public drinking water suppliers in the United States requires the protection of drinking water sources and the monitoring and treatment of drinking water to safeguard public health."
The Consumer Confidence Rule of the SDWA mandates that you receive by July 1 of each year an
annual report on your drinking water. The report specifically must contain information about the
quality of your drinking water, the sources of your drinking water, and CAW’s compliance with federal
and state drinking water standards.
The initial enactment of the SDWA was in 1974 by the U.S. Congress. The current regulations
require that public water suppliers, such as CAW, sample and analyze for specific contaminants and
limit the concentration of those contaminants which may be present in the finished drinking water.
The federally-regulated contaminants range from lead and copper to coliform bacteria and
disinfection by-products. 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 unregulated contaminants includes pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals.
Our Water Sources
Central Arkansas Water receives its supply from two surface water sources, Lake Maumelle in Pulaski County and Lake Winona in Saline County.
Both lakes can supply water to Jackson Reservoir, a regulating reservoir located within the Little Rock city limits at Reservoir Park. Water is delivered by pipeline to the Jack H. Wilson Water Treatment Plant and Ozark Point Water Treatment Plant. Both treatment plants are located within the city limits of Little Rock.
Water Treatment Process
Central Arkansas Water utilizes a conventional water treatment process at each of our two water treatment facilities. The process includes
pre-oxidation, flash mixing, coagulation/flocculation, sedimentation, and disinfection.
Source Water Assessment Statement
The Arkansas Department of Health has completed a Source Water Vulnerability Assessment for Central Arkansas Water. The assessment summarizes the potential for contamination of our sources of drinking water and can be used as a basis for developing a source water protection plan.
Based on the various criteria of the assessment, our water sources have been determined to have a medium to high susceptibility to contamination.
Multiple Layers of Protection
Central Arkansas Water utilizes a multi-barrier approach to ensure safe drinking water for our customers. The strategy of safeguards begins at the source with watershed management to protect the quality of water in our sources, Lake Maumelle and Lake Winona. Other safeguards include treatment and disinfection, the training and certification of personnel responsible for the water supply, cross-connection control/backflow prevention to maintain quality in the distribution system, and testing at the customer’s tap for certain contaminants.
Lake Maumelle Watershed Management
Extensive research shows that assuring the highest quality of water begins at the source, and CAW is leading water utilities across the nation in watershed management and protection. Our Board of Commissioners in 2007 adopted the Lake Maumelle Watershed Management Plan. The plan followed an extensive study that identified comprehensive and proactive measures to safeguard against potential pollution sources in the watershed of the lake.
The strategies include:
• Prohibition of wastewater discharges into the watershed
• Erosion and sediment control guidelines for new development in the watershed
• Required "set aside" of undeveloped land in the watershed
• Required purchase of at least 1,500 additional acres in the watershed by CAW
• Active management of the 10,220 acres of CAW-owned lands within the watershed and allowances for low-non-impact public
and recreational uses
• Expanded water quality monitoring
To date, CAW has worked with several regulatory and governmental entities to address all of the above strategies, including work with Pulaski County Government on the final component, the Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code. The Zoning Code, adopted in 2013, will implement the strategy of requiring the "set aside" of undeveloped land, as identified in the 2007 Watershed Management Plan.
Underscoring the importance of protecting our sources, CAW dedicated a budget of over $2 million to the Watershed Management Program in 2013.
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.