Newton receives water quality award for 14th consecutive year City’s water recognized as among best in state

Staff Writer

NEWTON, NC – The Newton Water Treatment Plant has been honored for the 14th consecutive year with a prestigious award for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards.

The Area-Wide Optimization Program Award was accepted by Newton Public Works and Utilities Director Dusty Wentz and his staff at the Newton City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 6. Newton was one of only five water treatment facilities in the state recognized with the Gold Star Honor for receiving the award for 10 or more consecutive years. There are 149 water treatment facilities in North Carolina.

“To receive this award for 14 consecutive years is a testament to the skills of our Water Treatment Facility staff,” Newton Mayor Anne P. Stedman said. “Having such high quality water allows us to pursue economic development opportunities and allows our residents to rest assured that when they turn on the tap, their water is healthy and safe.”

Designed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Area-Wide Optimization Program enhances public health protection by encouraging superior performance and operations at water treatment facilities across the country. Facilities that adopt the program aim to reach sustainable water quality standards far more stringent than those required by government regulators.

Awards are given each year to water systems that demonstrate outstanding turbidity removal, a key test of drinking water quality. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by individual particles that can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Microbes are microscopic particles that occur naturally but can include harmful bacteria and viruses.

While all drinking water systems must meet strict state and federal drinking water standards, systems receiving the award met performance goals that are significantly more stringent.

“The credit for this award goes to our Water Treatment Plant staff,” Wentz said. “Their skill and dedication allow us to deliver some of the best water in the state to Newton’s water customers.”

“I’d like to thank the staff at the plant for working hard every day to deliver such high quality water to our customers,” Newton Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Glenn Bach said. “This award shows that they truly care about what they do and have the skills to do it well.”

The Newton Water Treatment Plant opened in 1988. The plant has a capacity of 8 million gallons per day. Newton’s source of raw water is the Jacob Fork River, which originates in South Mountain State Park.