Pascagoula water receives perfect bill of health - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula water receives perfect bill of health

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula's water supply recently received the highest possible rating, a five, from the State Department of Health. This is the fifth year Pascagoula's water system has received the top rating in technical, managerial and financial categories.

Chris Walker runs chemical checks on Pascagoula's water supply at the Communy water plant at least three times each day.

"We test for ozone here which is a disinfectant, chlorine- a disinfectant, and we use a polyphosphate as an antiscalant," Walker said. "An antiscalant is a chemical that you put in the water that keeps the pipes from scaling or particles from flaking off."

Walker is one of six trained plant operators that keep constant watch over Pascagoula's three plants as mineral-rich brown raw water enters the city's reverse osmosis system. The water passes through a series of filters and treatments until it comes out crystal clear and completely transformed.

"We hate to use the slang bottled water quality," said Walker, "But at a plant like this, that's what you have."

To achieve a perfect water rating, a city like Pascagoula must also update, maintain and properly finance its water system. Operations manager Steve Mitchell said five years ago, changes in the city budget and improvements to city infrastructure equaled perfection to the state department of health. 

The city received a perfect water rating, with a score of five. Even after Katrina wrecked one of the three water plants, the city continued to receive the perfect rating. This week, Mitchell was told they had just achieved a perfect rating for the fifth year in a row.

"They grade us on the quality of our system. They grade us on the financial aspects of our system," said Mitchell.  "Are we operating the system to pay the expenses of producing each gallon of water? They grade us on our long range plans for keeping the system operational, and of course the quality of our water."

Mitchell said he hopes the consistently high rating will help maintain public confidence in the reverse osmosis system and the water it provides for Pascagoula.

"It means they can rest assured that we're providing them with some of the highest quality water on the coast and guarantees them our success in continuing to do so," Mitchell said.

Mitchell says parts of the system were badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but the city managed to keep its top rating despite the storm.

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