BRISTOL BOROUGH >> For the first time, Aqua Pennsylvania’s Bristol Water Treatment Plant has won first place, along with the distinction as Pennsylvania’s best tasting water, at the Pennsylvania American Water Works Association’s annual state conference. They will compete at the AWWA national competition in June.
Aqua’s water treatment plant in Bristol Borough was originally constructed in 1953 and draws water from the Delaware River. The 11-million-gallon-per-day plant provides drinking water to nearly 10,000 customer connections and around 30,000 residents and businesses in three municipalities there.
Aqua acquired the municipal water system in 1996, which included the then 8-MGD water plant. Since then, Aqua has invested $21 million dollars to upgrade the plant and distribution system. The result is a more reliable system, improved water quality and a water taste that is now deemed to be the best among those tested in Pennsylvania.
Aqua’s Vice President, Production Curt Steffy said there were a few things that contributed to the title, including a major plant overhaul in 1999, during which the entire facility was rehabbed. “Following those upgrades, the plant enrolled in the AWWA Partnership for Safe Drinking Water program, which is a national volunteer initiative developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, AWWA and other water organizations,” said Steffy. “The Partnership members are committed to producing water that outperforms federal drinking water regulations. All of our Pennsylvania surface water plants are in the program and the Bristol plant is currently in the process of completing the requirements for Phase III of the program, which will be done by year-end.”
“In 2017, to prepare for a new regulation that requires water companies to maintain a higher level of disinfection throughout the distribution system, we began testing and ultimately installed chlorine dioxide treatment to enhance our chlorine residual,” Steffy continued. “Although the new disinfection treatment technique made a difference in performance, the plant operators were crucial, playing an equal and key role in making the win possible. You can have great technology, but if your production staff, your plant operators, and treatment team don’t know how to manage that technology, the potential benefits of the treatment will not be realized.”
Aqua’s Bristol plant will compete at the national competition on June 11 at the AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition 2019 in Denver.
Aqua Pennsylvania serves approximately 1.4 million people in 32 counties throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.