Water Works receives perfect inspection report scorePublished 12:06am Sunday, March 10, 2013
NATCHEZ — For the second year in a row, Natchez Water Works has received a perfect score on its state inspection report.
The inspection, conducted by the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Bureau of Public Water Supply, includes a review of city-owned Water Works’ technical, managerial and financial capacities.
“It’s more than just the one aspect of water quality,” City Engineer and Water Works Superintendent David Gardner said. “They look at all the different things, how the company is managed, how it manages it finances.”
The report also serves as the system’s sanitary survey. Each part of the report looks at five areas of the technical, managerial and financial management of Water Works.
Water Works receives one point for each of the five areas, and a five out of five for each area indicates a perfect score.
The technical assessment includes review of water treatment function, the system’s capacity and ability to provide water during power outages.
The managerial assessment includes review of records maintenance, any violations, long-range improvement plans and compliance with MDH regulations.
The financial assessment reviews water rates, the annual budget, accounting and other areas.
Water Works also received an AA rating from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services on its water and sewer revenue debt. The AA rating is S&P’s second highest rating and indicates a “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.”
Water Works was upgraded to a AA from an A in 2009 and has maintained that rating since.
Gardner said he is very pleased with the five out of five rating Water Works received in the three areas of the inspection report.
“Our guys are doing a good job with our wells. We have an ample supply of water,” he said. “We have a great ability to provide water for fire protection and other things. We’re financially sound. Our rate structure is competitive; we’re not too high and not too low. We have good management in place, and we had a perfect audit score this year.”
The city’s water, Gardner said, comes from the Miocene aquifer that is 1,000 feet underground in the Morgantown area. He said it is very high quality water.
“We pump it straight to the water treatment plant, aerate it, take the carbon dioxide out of it, and only put chlorine and fluoride in it,” Gardner said. “It doesn’t require a great deal of treating.”
When the city built the water plant in 1995, Gardner said, its location was chosen because of the aquifer and its water quality.
“It was it a lot cheaper to operate and a lot cheaper to treat,” he said.