Western Carolina University’s water wins rave reviews, state award

CULLOWHEE – Drink all the water you want on the Western Carolina University campus-it’s good, clean water.

Western’s water treatment facility won one of 14 North Carolina Area Wide Facility Optimization Program awards given for 2002 by the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources’ Division of Environmental Health for effective turbidity removal.

Turbidity is the amount of sand, dirt, and other organic and inorganic materials found in water before it is processed through final filters. The state requires removal of 95 percent of the particulate matter; Western’s treatment plant routinely removes 100 percent, said Kenny Cook, chief water plant operator.

Western received the top prize of the 14 awards given at a recent seminar in Forest City. This is the first year of the award, with 116 water plants in North Carolina vying for recognition.

“This award was not possible without the support of the university, my department and my staff,” said Cook. Joining Cook in caring for the water system are Kristy Williams, Marty Prow and Chris Korsgard.

“We test the water every day and baby the water plant like a newborn,” said Cook. “We care very much about putting out good water.”