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From Ground to Faucet: How Do I Get My Water? – Part 3 of 3 of Spring Creek Water Fundamentals

May 04, 2020

Have you ever thought about how your water is provided? Providing safe and reliable water to customers is a top priority for Great Basin Water Co. (GBWC). In the Spring Creek area, GBWC owns and maintains two separately permitted water systems with 12 wells and 9 storage tanks. The two systems supply over 5,050 customers and GBWC maintains and services over 122 miles of water mains and service lines.

Your water is sourced from underground wells located throughout the system and is pumped from varying depths in the basin. At each well location, GBWC applies and monitors the injection of chlorine prior to entering the distribution system. This is common practice throughout the world to protect against waterborne pathogens. The residual chlorine, or low level of chlorine that is left in the system after its initial application is closely monitored by GBWC and regulated by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP).

According to waterandheath.org, there are 4 reactions that result from the addition of chlorine to a water system.

  • The Chlorine Demand is Satisfied: Upon initial dosing, chlorine reacts with any organic matter in water. The amount of chlorine used in these reactions is known as the "chlorine demand" of the water.
  • Combined Chlorine Forms: When the chlorine demand of the water is satisfied, some portion of the remaining chlorine reacts with nitrogen in the water to form compounds known as chloramines. The chlorine that combines chemically with nitrogen and nitrogen-containing compounds is known as "combined chlorine."
  • Free Chlorine Destroys Germs: Chlorine remaining in water after the chlorine demand is satisfied and combined chlorine is formed is known as "free chlorine." This is the chlorine portion available for disinfection. Many waterborne germs are either killed or rendered incapable of reproducing, helping to prevent waterborne disease outbreaks.
  • A Chlorine Residual Remains: Following a given contact time during which chlorine destroys germs, some chlorine remains in the water. Chlorine and bromine are unique in their ability to impart this kind of protection. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all US facilities that treat water to maintain a chlorine residual of no more than 4 parts per million, whether chlorine is used as a primary disinfectant or not.

To monitor the chlorine residual, GBWC tests the distribution system on a weekly basis. There are multiple points across the system approved by NDEP for testing. These locations are throughout the different tracts located within the Spring Creek water system. The number of test points in each tract has been determined by population and follows Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) requirements.

In addition to the chlorine treatment outlined above, customers in the 200 tract receive water which has been remediated for arsenic. Although the test points and the process for arsenic filtration in the 200 tract may be slightly different than the other tracts, the water quality is the same. The arsenic filtration vessels use levels of sand and charcoal to capture and remove the bonded arsenic molecules, delivering water that meets NDEP requirements. This system is tested on a daily basis to ensure the process is functioning properly.

NDEP requires a variety of testing procedures for the Spring Creek area, and every public water system, ranging from daily testing to tests that are only required every 9 years. Additionally, GBWC provides the public with a yearly water quality report, known as a Consumer Confidence Report.  This report is sent to customers through the mail and is also available on the GBWC website.

In addition to testing, GBWC practices the process of a routine flushing of all systems. During the winter months, water doesn't flow as much as it does in the summer and routine flushing ensures water does not stagnate. Flushing improves the taste of the water and assists in maintaining the distribution system. According to waterandhealth.org, "The increased flow helps maintain the chlorine residual that protects the water as it moves to your house."

While GBWC does everything possible to provide safe and reliable water every day, we would also like to reassure you that your water is safe from viruses like COVID-19. According to the Center for Disease Control "The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19." Our water receives such disinfection.