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Marine Corps Base Quantico

"Crossroads of the Marine Corps"

Quantico’s drinking water plant repeats excellence award

By Ameesha Felton | | June 10, 2014

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Robert Eldelman, the district engineer at the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water, measures organic material in raw, unfiltered water using a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer at Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Mainside Water Treatment Plant on May 29, 2014.

Robert Eldelman, the district engineer at the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water, measures organic material in raw, unfiltered water using a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer at Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Mainside Water Treatment Plant on May 29, 2014. (Photo by Ameesha Felton)


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Grab a bottle and fill it up at the tap because Marine Corps Base Quantico has some of the highest-quality drinking water. For the sixth consecutive year, Quantico’s Mainside Water Treatment Plant has earned the excellence in “Granular Media Filtration” award from the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water.

The award, presented May 28, recognizes exceptional quality in the plant’s drinking water, which is supplied to all of main side and The Town of Quantico, supporting around 14,000 people. 

Over the last year, Danny Gilley, plant supervisor said he has submitted a monthly report of their “granular media filtration,” to the VDH. The report is a measure of nephelometric turbidity — in plain English that means the number of particles in the water. By Federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations, water treatment plants must have a constant clarity of 0.3 nephelometric turbidity units or less, which is a measure of the water’s cloudiness. Gilley said Quantico’s treatment plant runs consistently at around .05 NTUs. 

While most of a water treatment process is chemical, he said their quality is closely linked to the removal of organic material.

“We attribute our water quality mostly to our particle removal [methods], which make the chlorination more effective in eliminating harmful things like bacteria that can live in particles [that are invisible to the naked eye],” Gilley said. 

The plant supervisor also credits their success to the five operators and five assistants who run the facility around the clock, seven days a week. Additionally, he said, the purity coming from the plant’s main source of water, is also a major contributor to the quality, as there is almost no development in the Breckenridge Reservoir’s watershed to create inorganic pollution. 

Robert Eldelman, the district engineer who inspects Quantico’s water treatment plant and other localities in the region, congratulated their continual efforts toward superior quality.

“It’s an excellent achievement and something that the health department and Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging all localities to aim for,” said Eldelman.

Writer: afelton@quanticosentryonline.com

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