HUNTINGTON — West Virginia American Water’s Huntington Water Treatment Plant has accomplished what only nine other water systems from across the country have achieved, an award for superior water quality for 20 years in a row.
The Partnership for Safe Water, an initiative by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the country’s six largest water organizations, has given Huntington's water system the "20-Year Directors Award."
The award recognizes water suppliers that consistently surpass EPA regulatory requirements, and in Huntington’s case, it has received the award for 20 consecutive years.
“It’s not an easy award to achieve, so to just get it one year would be an extremely proud accomplishment, but to get it 20 years, it just sets the table,” said Brian Bruce, president of West Virginia American Water.
Bruce presented the award to plant operators and water quality staff on Wednesday, congratulating them for the achievement. Only one other water plant within the American Water network, which serves more than 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada, has won the award for 20 years in a row, he said.
“When someone turns on the tap or a fire hydrant is needed, we need to ensure there are no questions,” Bruce said. “When they turn that on, are they going to have the flow, are they going to have the pressure, are they going to have the water quality that they expect? They don’t have to worry about it; it’s a given.”
Bruce also presented Huntington Mayor Steve Williams with an award recognizing the city’s longstanding partnership with West Virginia American Water.
Williams said the water company has gone above and beyond to provide reliable water for residents in Huntington and Cabell County.
“Something will happen in the evening and I’ll pick up the phone and call,” Williams said. “Amazingly somebody is on other side picking up saying, ‘What do you need to be done, Mayor?’”
The 20-year distinction makes Huntington’s Water Treatment Plant a leader for other water utilities from across the country, Williams said.
“This company sets the standard that the rest of the nation is seeking to follow,” he said. “(The people) know our water system in town is reliable and it’s safe.”
The city's association with West Virginia American Water dates back to 1886, when the first pump station was built and the first water lines were installed under city streets. The company, a subsidiary of American Water, is the largest provider of water in the state serving approximately 530,000 homes and businesses.
Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.