Drinking Water Week: A Time to Celebrate Safe Water
By Warren Tenney
The safety and security of Arizona’s water supplies is always a top priority for the ten AMWUA cities. Each AMWUA municipality is committed to ensuring you have water service every day of every year regardless of the situation.
With the arrival of Drinking Water Week, it seems like an opportune time to reemphasize that your tap water is safe, clean, and protected. Plus, this year Drinking Water Week is even more significant as we realize how critical safe and clean drinking water is for our fight against COVID-19.
Water utilities are among the most regulated industries in the country. Our municipalities consistently meet or exceed all of the safe drinking water standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department. These requirements fall under the Safe Water Drinking Act bringing accountability and safeguarding high water quality standards.
Over the course of a year, Valley water utilities collectively perform millions of tests and measurements to ensure water treatment and distribution systems are safe. Each of the AMWUA cities has an aggressive water quality program with dedicated staff. These professionals head out daily to the various water service areas to ensure the water you receive is of the highest drinking water quality. This includes testing for hundreds of substances using state of the art equipment and laboratories to make sure your water consistently meets the safe drinking water standards, which is not a simple process. These professionals are certainly part of the number of today’s heroes who are keeping us safe.
When you consider the multiple sources of water utilized by the AMWUA cities including the Colorado River, Salt River Project (SRP), and groundwater, our cities must use different levels of treatment due to varying particles that accompany the water from the diverse sources. Not all water can be treated equally, which is why the water quality process is done at a stringent level. Addressing those treatment challenges is why the cities invested and continue to invest in their vast infrastructure and advanced treatment facilities so that there is always enough safe and regulated water for all of us to use whenever we need it while striving to keep it affordable for households throughout the Valley.
The water which enters water treatment plants contains various particles, lots of which are natural, organic particles that are suspended in the water. This is what can make the water appear cloudy and is often referred to as turbidity, which is a measurement of how clear the water is. The goal of the water treatment process is to decrease turbidity, making the water clear and removing any particles that may be harmful. Here are the steps involved in that process:
- Pre-Sedimentation – This slows the water down so heavy particles can settle out.
- Coagulation/Flocculation - Chemicals are added to the water and gently mixed to bring the suspended particles together. The small particles collide with each other and stick together forming larger particles.
- Sedimentation - The water continues through the plant to a basin where the large particles settle to the bottom of the basin and are removed from the water.
- Filtration - Water flows out of the top of the basin into a filter to remove the remaining particles. This makes the water clear.
- Disinfection – This is the final stage where a chemical such as chlorine is added, to remove and prevent potentially harmful microorganisms from growing. A small amount of disinfectant is required to be in the drinking water system and maintained until the water is delivered to homes and businesses, schools, and healthcare facilities throughout the Valley.
In addition to the treatment process and continual monitoring and testing of water samples, each municipality must provide regular reports on their water quality detailing each sample. Also, in addition to annually submitting that data to ADEQ, each city provides an annual water quality report to its customers, which demonstrates the reliability of our safe drinking water and significantly reduces the danger of a major water contaminant crisis. Also please note that if water quality is ever an issue in your city, you will be notified.
To read the latest water quality report for your municipality please click the appropriate logo below.
While situations arise, such as the current global effort to suppress the coronavirus, the cities remain dedicated to the continued delivery of safe and secure water. They have emergency plans in place so that water and wastewater services will continue to operate as normal. These plans are always being enhanced and built upon to ensure measures are in place to address any emergencies that may arise, including pandemics. READ MORE.
For over 50 years, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.
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