The Stuart Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was upgraded in 2004 and has been producing excellent quality water since that upgrade. The Virginia Department of Health (Office of Drinking Water) has awarded the Stuart WTP with Water Quality and Plant Operation awards every year since the awards were available. Those awards were possible because our water is pristine as it flows out of the mountians and has little or no industry or pollution sources to contaminate it before it reaches Stuart.
Water from the South Mayo River is pumped to the WTP and into the clarifiers. Raw water enters the clarifier in the center down tube and is chemically treated to remove dirt and bacteria. The chemicals are mixed with the water by a motorized mixer. The water flows downward in the center tube to the bottom of the clarifiers until the treated water exits the center tube and then flows upward where the dirt and chemicals chemically combine to create a “floc” that becomes heavier than water and remains near the bottom of the clarifiers. The clarified water then flows over weirs at the outer perimeter of each clarifier, that significantly cleaner water is then piped to the filters where any remaining dirt is removed. Once the water is filtered the turbidity (measure of contaminates in the water) is normally well below 0.10 NTU which is below what VDH considers “optimized”. Once the filtered water leaves the filters and enters the clearwell additional chlorine is added to the water to ensure any residual bacteria is eliminated (this is required by VDH). Fluoride is also added to promote dental health.
The water from the clearwell is then pumped into our water storage tanks. Once filled, the water storage tanks can feed treated drinking water to every household including Patrick Springs by gravity. Based on current usage (December 2013) our water storage tanks can supply water for three full days before needing to be refilled, however, we top off the tanks every day. In the event of a power outage we will have water to use as long as we regain power within three days. The town has access to a generator if AEP does not get there first.
The Town also has two supplemental wells that are capable of pumping 50 gpm (gallons per minute) each for a total of 100 gpm. The well water in Patrick County tends to be very acidic so the water must be pH adjusted in order to make it non-corrosive. Corrosive well water causes metals from natural deposits in the ground or metals from pipes and fixtures to dissolve into the drinking water, high levels of some metals can be a health concern as well as the integrity of the metal pipes in the Town or your house. The pH of the water that is delivered from the Water Treatment Plant is usually 7.0 to 7.5 which is considered to be “neutral” or non-corrosive. The well water is also treated with a small dose of chlorine to ensure the water is free of bacteria and safe to drink.