2016 was a very challenging year for the Orono-Veazie Water District, but it was capped by the district received the Outstanding Operations Award from the Main Rural Water Association recently.

In announcing the award, the association noted the district’s superintendent retired after 48 years of dedicated service. A new super was hired after a lengthy process. And the district had been struggling with elevated levels of trihalomethanes for some time.

But working closely with engineers, the district altered its treatment process. In March of this year potassium permanganate was introduced into the drinking water with the hope of lowering total trihalo methane levels. Additionally, three altitude valves located at the district’s standpipes were rebuilt in order to better control water leves entering and exiting the standpipes. Within two months test results indicated total trihalolmethane levels had dropped approximately 33 percent.

Additionally, the district, for many years, had been replacing 5 inch cast iron water mains dating back to 1906 with 12 inch ductile iron pipe, and several hundred feet more of line was replaced this year. Plastic pipe, meanwhile replaced galvanized and unlined iron mains that were installed in approximately 1960, and eliminating dead end water mains was made a priority in 2016.

“By replacing and looping these sections of ppe, flows have increased and water quality has improved,” wrote the association. “Upgrades to water meters in the past, combined with recent upgrades to the radio read meter system, bring the utility closer to a lead-free system and have decreased non-revenue water as well.”

The association further noted that the district has striven to increased communications with its 2,360 customers via upgrades to its website, including accepting payment by credit card, that have resulted in better public relations and a more informed customer base. Lastly, said the association, the district is working to complete a master plan and hydraulic study.

“Congratulations to the Orono Veazie Water District for their outstanding achievements in water operations,” concluded the association.

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