Awards given at 2023 KY/TN Water Professionals Conference
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (August 1, 2023) — Somerset Water Service received top awards today for excellence in mid-size water plant operations and distribution system operations at the 2023 KY/TN Water Professionals Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.
The conference, a joint event of the Clean Water Professionals of Kentucky & Tennessee (CWP-KT) and the Kentucky/Tennessee Section of the American Water Works Association (KY/TN Section AWWA), is the largest annual water technical conference and exhibition in Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition to networking and training opportunities, awards are given at the conference to the best small, medium and large water plants and distribution systems. There is only one winner for each category in each state, with the large facility awards rotating between Kentucky and Tennessee each year.
To be considered a medium-sized water plant, a facility must treat between 3 and 20 million gallons per day. A medium-sized distribution system must serve between 7,500 to 15,000 customers.
For Somerset’s water plant to be selected in both categories as the best mid-size facility in Kentucky is an incredible accomplishment, and a testament to the department’s dedication to providing safe, clean water to the community, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said.
“We have a state-of-the-art treatment plant that provides exceptionally clean drinking water for thousands of residents in Somerset and Pulaski County,” Keck said. “While that quality has been publicly criticized during the last year in light of a growing national conversation about forever chemicals and their impact on public health, these awards speak for themselves. We remain committed to investing in our utility systems at the highest level to keep our community safe. I am so proud to be able to say we have the best mid-size water plant and distribution system in the state of Kentucky and I stand tall behind our team’s work every day.”
Once a utility is nominated for one of these awards, the KY/TN Section AWWA Honors and Awards Committee, consisting of 12 members, takes the time to visit and review each nominated utility’s facilities. If a utility is nominated in both categories, as Somerset Water Service was, there are separate review processes. Once all sites have been visited, the committee meets to discuss the merits of all the nominees and select a winner for each category.
Award criteria include:
- Water quality
- Operations records
- Maintenance programs
- Emergency preparedness
- Use of innovative technology
- Plant and/or system security
The Somerset Water Treatment Plant, a $25 million facility built in 2014, has a service capacity of 16 million gallons of treated water per day. The distribution system serves more than 9,600 customers, including four consecutive systems which purchase approximately 4.3 million gallons per day. Total storage is 10.5 million gallons in seven storage tanks fed from the treatment plant or its two pump stations.
The plant utilizes membrane filtration, a state-of-the-art technology that removes bacteria and other microorganisms, particulate material and natural organic material that can impact color, taste and odors.
Judges remarked that the Somerset facility “ranks very highly in different aspects of distribution system operation. It encourages professionalism (9 certified operators) and safety (0 lost time accidents in the last 12 months). There is a plan for every type of emergency preparedness. It keeps extensive records on important issues, from customer complaints (7 years) to record drawings of new mains (the location of every bell is recorded). Security is emphasized.”
“It is such an honor for our facility to be recognized today for the excellence in quality and service it provides our community,” said Dana Whitis, City of Somerset water and wastewater manager. “On behalf of our team, I thank the awards committee for recognizing the hard work and dedication that goes into ensuring our water is some of the cleanest in Kentucky.”