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Clear water flows at Appalachian

BOONE—Turn on the tap and enjoy clean drinking water at Appalachian State University.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the university’s water treatment plant for meeting goals set by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources for optimized drinking water treatment plant performance for turbidity for 2012.

Becky B. Allenbach, chief of the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Branch, wrote that the achievement “represents protection against waterborne disease that extends beyond our regulatory standards, and it signifies a commitment to excellence that is a cornerstone of the Area-Wider Optimization Program.”

Mike O’Connor, director of Appalachian’s Physical Plant said, “This means we have really high quality source water in our reservoir and reflects on the aeration system installed by General Environmental Systems Inc. in the university’s reservoir in 2011.”

Don Lusk, water treatment plant supervisor, said the lack of particles (turbidity) in the water is also the result of a new filtration system that was installed in 2006.

While the treatment plant has 2 million gallons of water a day capacity, typical use when classes are in session is around 500,000 gallons a day. At the time when it was constructed in 2006, the university used about 850,000 gallons of water a day.

“The university’s sustainability program has really helped reduce water use,” Lusk said. Water conservation measures include the installation of low-flow shower heads in the residence halls, toilets that require less water for flushing, and the retrofitting of old buildings with new technology when possible.

“That has really helped reduce our average daily use,” Lusk said.