Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 15, 2018) – Tennessee American Water employees know that the community relies on them to supply clean and reliable water. They also know the importance of making sure that water sources are protected and environmental guidelines are followed.
“Our customers count on us for drinking water that is available when they need it and meets the highest quality standards,” said Tennessee American Water Quality Supervisor Kitty Vaughn. “We take this responsibility seriously to assure that the community’s drinking water is safe.”
Drinking water comes from a variety of sources. Water that is naturally stored in an aquifer, spring or well is considered groundwater while water above ground like a river, stream or lake is known as surface water.
“Humans and animals impact all water sources, whether they are groundwater or surface water,” said Water Quality Supervisor Kitty Vaughn. “It’s important that everyone be aware and do their part in protecting our life-sustaining water sources.”
In 2017, Walker County was forced to put in a mobile filtration plant after E. coli was detected in their well water. In 2003, Walden’s Ridge Utility District had to completely abandon their wells in Falling Water and switch to a new source of water after dry cleaning fluids were detected in the wells.
This week is National Groundwater Awareness Week – a good reminder on the importance of protecting our water sources. The annual, weeklong observance was established in 1999 by the National Ground Water Association to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of water.
“Water is a finite resource which is the same amount since the beginning of time,” said Ms. Vaughn. “If a groundwater source becomes contaminated, it is nearly impossible to clean to meet drinking water standards or so expensive, it becomes cost prohibitive.”
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation rates water sources as reasonably susceptible (high), moderately susceptible (moderate) or slightly susceptible (low) based on geologic factors and human activities in the vicinity of the water source. Water sources in the Hamilton County area, including bothgroundwater and surface water, are rated as reasonably susceptible to potential contamination.
“We have never received a violation for water quality from our regulators,” stated Ms. Vaughn. “This is something we do not take lightly and requires diligence every day, hundreds of samples being collected and daily testing throughout our entire water system.”
Steps that consumers can take to help protect water sources include:
- Residents who are on private wells should have their water tested regularly.
- Use fewer chemicals around your home and yard, and make sure to dispose of them properly - don't dump them near wells.
- Think before you flush! Drug Disposal Program. Properly disposing of unused or expired medication helps protect you and the environment. Keep medications out of Tennessee's waterways by disposing in one of our permanent pharmaceutical take back bins instead of flushing. There are nearly 100 take back bins located across the state, including most area police departments including the Chattanooga Police Department, Signal Mountain Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department – to name a few.
- Area wide Drug Take Back day is April 28, 2018. Look for more information on Facebook, Twitter or our website.
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ABOUT TENNESSEE AMERICAN WATER
Tennessee American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water services to approximately 375,000 people in Tennessee and northern Georgia. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,900 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 46 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. More information can be found by visiting www.tennesseeamwater.com.
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