WCSA tapped by AWWA for national water utility accreditation pilot program

Labeled among an elite set of utilities doing "more than required" to provide the area with superior quality water, the Washington County Service Authority (WCSA), in Virginia, has been tapped by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) to serve as a small water utility model nationwide for accreditation standards for other utilities...

ABINGDON, VA, April 21, 2005 -- Labeled among an elite set of utilities doing "more than required" to provide the area with superior quality water, the Washington County Service Authority (WCSA) has been tapped by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) to serve as a small water utility model nationwide for accreditation standards for other utilities, it was announced Tuesday.

Denver-based AWWA leaders pick utilities they consider to be "champions" in water utility services. The WCSA will participate in AWWA's pilot program for accreditation.

Jim Ginley, AWWA's utility quality programs manager, says the WCSA was chosen to represent small water utilities because the authority is "consciously and proactively doing more than required to protect the public health of the community."

"WCSA looks forward and not backward, tries to find the next best thing that protects public health and displays prudent stewardship of resources," says Ginley.

"The WCSA proves to its peers year after year its commitment to maintaining a high level of treatment."

The AWWA will use the pilot program to evaluate the standards it sets for how to manage a water utility. The organization wants to make sure its standards are practical and useful in the real world of water utility operation. AWWA standards focus on materials, technical procedures for treating and distributing water, operations and management.

Participating utilities, including the WCSA, will help build an accreditation program for utilities that meet AWWA standards. Along with consultants, auditors and staff, water utilities will test the AWWA standards to determine if they are realistic, practical and able to be applied and measured by a water utility.

WCSA currently employs AWWA's evaluation and assessment tools to help improve its operations on a continuous basis. According to David Dawson, general manager of the WCSA, "AWWA's standards have proven beneficial to our operations and our communities. They help us provide water of superior quality.

"We are pleased the AWWA considered the WCSA an exceptional candidate for the pilot program. Participating in this type of program shows our conscious commitment to protecting the public health of the community."

The WCSA has 19,233 water accounts serving 45,000 people in Washington County, Va., including the towns of Abingdon, Damascus and Glade Spring. It also provides wastewater service to 1,400 homes, businesses and industries in parts of Washington County.

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