Local News

Story published: 07-09-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Town mails out annual Water Quality Report

By Kristen Swing

The Town of Jonesborough’s 2012 Water Quality Report landed in the mailboxes of 10,000 water customers late last month.

By all indications, the water provided by the town to the 10,000 households is perfectly safe to drink.

“The last decade or so, we’ve had excellent water and have done a good job,” Town Administrator Bob Browning said.

The town did receive one violation, which was noted in the report and addressed in a “public notice” on the back page of the four-page document.

The water department failed to comply with a reporting procedure in April 2012 when results from a sample it sent off to a certified lab did not make it to the state within the proper amount of time.

“That was really out of our control,” Browning said. “We sent it and the lab didn’t get it out in time.”

Sample results are required to be reported within 10 days of the end of the month in which the sample was taken.

While the sample results did not make it to the state within the allotted amount of time, they indicated no violation of water quality as far as the amount of Total Organic Carbon in the water.

The violation was, in fact, only a reporting violation and not related to the water quality.

“It’s not that hard to be in violation in some way or another,” Browning said. “The parameters we are evaluated on have increased so dramatically — the liability and everything else to do with the water system in terms of being held accountable.”

For years, the town has mailed out its annual Water Quality Report to water customers. But that may soon end.

“There is a pretty substantial cost to mailing it out to everybody, but we do want people to have access to it if they want to look at it,” Browning said. “So we are going to look at ways in which we can reduce that cost.”

In other municipalities, Browning said it is common for the report to be posted to the entity’s website for customers to access.

As far as the report’s findings, Browning said he is pleased, but believes the biannual state survey of water systems is much more telling.

“The real indication of how well you are doing is that survey. That is about more than just the treatment of the water. That’s on the distribution side, too,” he said. “We did really well on the last one. We’re due for another survey in the near future.”

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Water Supply conducted the survey in 2011. The water department scored 99 out of 100, the highest score ever for the town.