December 12, 2022
In the world of customer reviews, a five-star rating is synonymous with excellence. A similar concept applies to water system inspections performed by the Mississippi State Department of Health, which awarded the city of Starkville a perfect score of five on its latest drinking water supply inspection report.
“The results of the annual assessment reflect our ongoing commitment to provide customers with a safe, reliable supply of drinking water,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “We are especially pleased that the report recognizes our long-range plan to ensure Starkville’s water supply system is equipped to meet the needs of customers and the community well into the future.”
The state’s annual inspection report rates water-supply performance in three areas—technical, managerial and financial—and assigns an overall rating based on the average score. Starkville Utilities earned top ratings of five in each area.
The report stated that “no significant deficiencies were identified” and that “plants appeared to be well maintained at the time of the inspection.” It also referenced Starkville Utilities’ capital improvement plan, which includes ongoing infrastructure investments.
“Currently, this supply is getting credit for a long-range plan based on the supply upgrades,” stated the report.
In addition to long-range planning, the managerial capacity section of the inspection report addressed areas such as records management, policies and procedures, personnel training, and compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The technical capacity section assessed areas such as operator performance, equipment condition, back-up generation, and compliance with maintenance, testing and inspection requirements.
Areas analyzed in the financial capacity section included water rates, annual budgets, accounting systems and audit reports.
The report also included a sanitary survey to measure compliance with the federal Ground Water Rule, which was established “to reduce disease incidence associated with harmful microorganisms in drinking water,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Last year, Starkville Utilities processed and delivered more than 964 million gallons of safe drinking water to homes and businesses. Before water makes it to a customer’s tap, it has completed a complex process of filtration and treatment to ensure it meets local, state and federal quality standards.
Every month, Starkville Utilities sends water samples to MSDH to test for bacteria and other contaminants. Test results appear annually in a Consumer Confidence Report posted on Starkville Utilities’ website. The most recent score of 4.6 out of 5 indicated a high level of compliance.
“Even though we’ve worked hard to achieve high scores, we know there’s always room to improve,” Kemp said. “Aiming for continuous improvement is an important part our Renew Principle commitment. Employees take pride in operating the city’s water supply system in a manner that places the highest priority on health, safety and reliable service.”
Starkville Utilities is a municipally owned and operated electric and water utility, serving more than 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville as well as the state’s largest institution of higher learning, Mississippi State University.