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Report confirms high-quality drinking water across base

10 Jul 2014 | Chuck Jenks

The 2013 Drinking Water Quality Report has confirmed that the three main sources of drinking water at Quantico are below or well below Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Department of Health regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.

"The Marine Corps Base Waterworks Department has received repeat award recognitions by VDH and other professional organizations," Larry Weedon, base utilities and energy manager, said.

"These awards serve to reinforce the commitment to outstanding water quality and customer service to MCB Quantico and the tenant commands. Due to public health and safety concerns associated with the production and distribution of a public water supply, this level of performance is expected of the Utilities Branch, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without interruption to the consumer," he said.

Drinking water testing regulations prescribe analysis for microbial, inorganic, pesticides and herbicides, organic chemical and radioactive contaminants.

The sources of drinking water (tap or bottled) come from rain water as it travels over the surface of land or through the ground. As it makes its way through earth, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and in some cases radioactive material; water also picks up biological or man-made substances from the presence of animals or human activity.

Two of the three main sources of drinking water at Quantico come from fresh water reservoirs while the third comes from deep water wells.

These water sources deliver drinking water through more than 125 miles of pipes and serve nearly 24,000 people who either live or work aboard the base every day.

For Mainside and the Town of Quantico, drinking water comes from the Breckenridge Reservoir, located north and west of I-95, and straddling the base and the Prince William National Forest Park. The water from Breckenridge is treated at the Mainside Water Treatment Plant before it is distributed to the schools, offices and housing areas. Through a memorandum of agreement, the base charges the Town of Quantico for the distribution of drinking water and the collection of waste water. This water is managed by the Mainside Water Treatment Plant as well.

Westside drinking water and waste water for Camp Barrett, the Department of Justice complex, Weapons Training Battalion and the Russell-Knox complex is provided by Stafford County under a contract with the Stafford County Utilities. A water and waste water service for this area of the base comes from Smith Lake which is located in northeastern Stafford on Aquia Creek and is impounded by Smith Lake Dam.

At Camp Upshur, on the far northwest section of the base near Fauquier County, drinking water is pumped up from two, 400-foot deep wells, then distributed to the more than 34 buildings there that support the Reserve Support Unit and its operations. Waste water is treated at the Camp Upshur Sewage Treatment Plant, a new facility that was designed with a three-tiered capacity, able to be set to process up to 40,000, 70,000 or 140,000 gallons of waste water per day.

"Water samples from each of the base’s three main water sources are taken on a routine basis and sent to labs for testing," Joe Provenzano, deputy director of the base Installation and Environment Division. "Those labs then report findings back to us and to the EPA and VDH."

This report analyzed water samples that were taken continuously from January through December 2013.

Marine Corps Base Quantico