Water Works awaiting waiver for operator deficiency

by Trish Rudder

The Berkeley Springs Water Works (BSWW), the town-owned water department, sent a public announcement notice to all its customers to let them know the West Virginia Health Department found the plant to be in violation of a state drinking water requirement.

The “Operator Deficiency” violation was found because the plant is short of a Class II operator that must be at the plant at all times.

“This has nothing to do with the quality of the water,” BSWW manager, Ron Jainniney, said on Friday.

The BSWW has had a waiver in place regarding the Operator Deficiency because the plant has a continuous monitoring device 24/7 that monitors the chlorine and turbidity to make sure the water is safe. It has always had a waiver, he said.

Because the water department is a small plant and cannot afford to pay for an operator to be at the plant 24/7, the state waived the requirement since the plant has the continuous monitoring device in place.

This year, the state changed the qualifications for the waiver and the BSWW had to reapply. That was two months ago, Jainniney said, and they are still waiting for the waiver.

The reports are done every three years, and the next one will come in 2025.

Last time, Jainniney said he sent the notice out with a cover letter that explained the waiver and the continuous monitoring of the system, but people called his office anyway to ask if the water was safe. This year he did not write a cover letter. His office was receiving calls last week.

Since the BSWW is a community water department, it is required to alert the public. The notice was also on the Town of Bath website.

The water department has about 1,500 customers, Jainniney said Monday.