Friday, February 05, 2016

TOP STORY >> Zero violations for water, sewer

Leader staff writer

For the 20th year in a row, Jacksonville’s wastewater utility has had zero permit violations at its treatment facility.

Jacksonville Water Works also had zero water-quality violations in 2015.

“There are few facilities which can claim such a feat, and we are honored that Jacksonville is in such an elite group,” said Fred Belote, chairman of the Jacksonville Sewer Commission.

The utility’s general manager, Thea Hughes, presented the report at a recent Jacksonville City Council meeting.

She told the aldermen and those attending the meeting that the department treated 1.8 billion gallons of water in 2015, up from the 1.6 billion treated the year before. “And we did it all under budget,” she said.

Hughes said the utility, which consists of five different departments, is responsible for nearly 200 miles of sewer lines, 3,500 manholes and 14 pump stations.

The utility not only processes the city’s sewer water but also wastewater from Little Rock Air Force Base.

Hughes said the utility’s Operations Challenge team took first place in the state competition in Hot Springs and first place in the Division II competition in Corpus Christi, Texas. For the second year in a row, Engineering Manager Jay Summer took first place in the Water Environment Federation’s “Ingenuity Contest,” for his creative and educational depiction of smoke-testing sewer lines.

Jake Short, head of the water department, told the council that water production for 2015 was 1.1 billion gallons, down about 5 percent from the previous year.

The average daily water flow for the city was about 3 million gallons for the more than 10,000 customers the utility serves. Water loss for the year was 12.1 percent, down 1 percent from the previous year.

“Once again, Jacksonville Water Works has completed a year within its budget while providing the citizens of Jacksonville with quality water and services that they not only deserve, but have come to expect,” said Jim Peacock, chairman of the water commission.