Streamline - Summer 2011 - (Page 13)
The Water Tastes Good In Western Virginia
BY NANCY CARR, SOURCE WATER PROTECTION SPECIALIST
AGAIN, THREE SPRINGS Water Treatment Plant in Rockingham County won first place for best tasting, clearest and sweetest-smelling water at our annual conference’s water taste contest. Second place went to the town of Stanley system just a county away to the north.
They both have ground water sources in the Shenandoah Valley. Three Springs draws from two wells and treats with diatomaceous earth and chlorine. Stanley takes it out of the ground from three wells and distributes it without treatment. Three Springs won the contest previously in 2007 and came in second in 2010. Stanley has won first-place twice – in 2010 and 2006. They took second this year and held third place in 2008. Their 2010 sample won fifth place in the national competition in Washington, D.C. Could it be the limestone bedrock, with its above-neutral pH and hard water, and the recharge often directly from rain and snowmelt runoff? Is it also the watchfulness of the systems as they guard their sources from initial contamination? Three Springs is surrounded by an array of sinkholes and is close on the west side of the Shenandoah River. The karst terrain allows runoff to enter the ground through sinkholes and the relatively shallow soil layer, and sometimes without filtration through the fractured limestone bedrock and outcrops on the surface. Hence, the wells draw from “Ground Water Under Direct Surface Influence.” The treatment plant uses diatomaceous earth as its filtering agent and adds fluoride. In Stanley, an explanation for great-tasting water may not be so straightforward. The tap in Town Manager Terry Pettit’s home gushes a chlorine-free, straight-from-the-underground product. His quart jar sample of tap water came from a mix of two wells. They are drilled into bedrock on the east side of the Shenandoah River. There, close to the Blue Ridge Mountains, a thick terrace and alluvial fan deposits overlie the Cambrian age limestones,
dolomites and shales1. Named for its position at the western foot of the mountains, the West Toe Aquifer stretches in a long narrow band from Warren County south to Roanoke County. Alluvium is sediment that has been carried and deposited by running water. In this case, the Shenandoah River dropped enough sediment here to create an aquifer with pumping rates up to 3,000 gpm. The West Toe Aquifer is well-known to the Miller-Coors plant further south. The wells that furnish water for the famous brew tap the West Toe. The Three Springs plant is not far from Miller-Coors, but is located on the west side of the Shenandoah River farther from the Blue Ridge. The carbonate area supplying Three Springs is considered distinct from the West Toe. The Shenandoah River may recharge this ground water during times of drought. Water flows through the West Toe Aquifer toward the river. Beneath the West Toe Aquifer extends the limestone bedrock. Both Three Springs and Stanley completed and have done significant implementation of Source Water Protection Plans. Pollution prevention activities in these plans protect their ground water sources. Rockingham County engaged residents in classes on septic system maintenance and proper use and disposal of yard and agricultural chemicals. In an effort to clean out sinkhole dumps that drain potential contaminants into the ground water, Rockingham County waived the landfill fee for trash removed from sinkholes. Stanley is in the process of protecting most of the recharge area for its two major wells with a conservation easement. The town has actively pursued the other goals recommended in the protection plan done by Olver, Inc. With a proactive approach, a community’s water system managers are able to change the way their customers view their water. The water coming into our homes that we drink, in which we bathe, in which we wash our eating and cooking utensils – it may be coming from a source that hasn’t won a water taste contest. If protected, however, it will endure and be safe and reliable. A great many people in the world lack that privilege.
Smith and Ellison, Ground Water Map of Virginia, 1985.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2011
From the President
From the Executive Director
The Water Tastes Good in Western Virginia
Virginia WARN, Help in an Emergency
Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products
VELAP: Where Are We Now?
Why Did the Paramecium Cross the Road?
Anger in the Work Place: What It Really Costs You
Litigation and Water Wars
Hydrant Flow Testing–Data You Need
What A Ride!
Conference 2011 Highlights
Throwing My Loop
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
New VRWA Benefit
Welcoming New Members
Board Of Directors
Index To Advertisers/ Ad.Com
Streamline - Summer 2011