USAID to tour Berkeley Springs Water Works

by Trish Rudder

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will tour the local water department, Berkeley Springs Water Works on Wednesday, May 8.

The independent agency of the federal government, which is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid, is hosting its Global Water Workshop from May 5-11 at the Cacapon State Park Resort Lodge.

According to the information handout, the 2024 Global Water Workshop Briefer, the workshop is designed to support “continuous sector learning for Agency staff and will bring over 90 water and sanitation professionals from around the world, including from Asia, Africa, Middle East and North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.”

“Annual appropriations from Congress enable USAID to support partner governments to strengthen water and sanitation services around the world,” the Briefer states.

Berkeley Springs Water Works (BSWW) superintendent Rick Mayhew said last week that he will meet with the agency members at the Berkeley Springs State Park to explain how the water comes in from the springs and then to the water plant for filtering.

Mayhew said the agency will be able to tour the plant and will show how the filtering system works by using a liquid aluminum added to the filtering system called DelPac.

“Delpac is a coagulant that causes flocculation. It removes the dirt molecules from the water to create the flocculants,” Mayhew said in his email. The additive causes the suspended solids to clump together and form flocs that can easily be removed.

According to DelPac’s manufacturer, Usalco, this polyaluminum chloride has become widely accepted for cost effective improvement of finished water quality.

“When used as a coagulant, DelPac can provide longer filter runs, reduce or eliminate the need for alkali pH adjustment, and reduce sludge residuals,” the company says.

Mayhew said if anyone is interested in learning more about this process, he would try to schedule a tour for them and help with any questions they may have.

Town of Bath councilwoman Rebecca MacLeod, a member of the water department committee for the town, is helping with the tours.

After the water department tours, the participants will tour the Town of Bath infrastructure projects, led by MacLeod, who is the town’s Streetscape Committee co-chair for those projects.

MacLeod said on Monday that Matt Pennington, senior planner with Downstream Strategies, who helped design the Berkeley Springs Depot stormwater control feature, will also help with the tours.

The tour was also to include the wastewater treatment facilities plant, Warm Springs Public Service District, but that could not be accomplished, MacLeod said on Monday.