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Water Quality Division Overview

The Water Quality Division is primarily responsible for the operation and maintenance Covington's Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment Facilities. Responsibilities associated with the operation for these facilities include the development and implementation of State and Federal mandated programs such as the Industrial Pretreatment Treatment Program, Industrial Sampling Program, Cross-Connection Program, Well Head Protection Program, Lead and Copper Program, Dead End Water Main Flushing Program, Bacteriological Sampling Program and Safe Drinking Water Compliance Monitoring Program. The Water Quality Division is staffed by Operators licensed by the State of Tennessee for the operation of water and wastewater treatment facilities.

Water Treatment Facility
The Water Treatment Facility, located at 300 S. College, operates under the authority of the Tennessee Division of Water Supply and the standards they have established. The facility is responsible for supplying safe drinking water for the residential, commercial and industrial community of the City and surrounding area.

The Water Facility utilizes four deep wells to draw water from the Memphis Sands Aquifer at an average depth of about 525 feet. Treatment is accomplished by aeration for iron oxidation and CO2 removal, followed by chlorination, fluoridation, pH adjustment and iron filtration. In its present configuration, the WTP will produce approximately 6 million gallons of treated water per day.

Additionally, the Water Quality Division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of six water storage tanks that total 2,300,000 gallons of water storage capacity.

Facility operation is accomplished by a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Computer system installed in 1991 and upgraded in 1996. The Water Quality Division is responsible for SCADA system operation, maintenance and configuration, as well as the operation, maintenance and repair of the associated telemetry system, which gathers information from ten Remote Terminal Units and, on site process equipment.

Water quality is ensured by a state mandated monitoring schedule which to date includes analysis by commercial laboratories for approximately 200 contaminants. Additionally, our in house lab conducts approximately 450 separate water analysis each month. To ensure compliance with regulations, the Tennessee Division of Water Supply routinely inspects the facility.

Awards for the Water Treatment Facility include two Operator of the Year for West Tennessee awards, one Operator of the Year for the State of Tennessee and a Water Plant of the Year for the State of Tennessee.

Wastewater Treatment Facility
The Wastewater Treatment Facility, located in the Rialto Industrial Park, operates under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit # TN0020982 issued by the State of Tennessee. In compliance with the provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act, the Tennessee Water Control Act and Regulations of the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control, the Covington Wastewater Treatment Facility is authorized to discharge treated municipal/sanitary wastewater to the Hatchie River at mile 35.2 in accordance with effluent limitations, monitoring requirements and other conditions set forth in the above mentioned NPDES permit.

Constructed in 1983, the facility has quietly provided one of the most valuable services offered by the City of Covington. Utilizing approved methods for biological removal of organic matter, followed by disinfection using chlorination and dechlorination using sulfur dioxide, the Covington Wastewater Treatment facility produces a high quality, usable effluent which exceeds the standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency and State of Tennessee. The end result is an environment friendly effluent discharged to the Hatchie River for which the State of Tennessee has classified for use as a domestic water supply, industrial water supply, fish and aquatic life, recreation, irrigation, livestock watering and wildlife uses. Simply put, our mission is to protect the environment.

The Covington Wastewater Treatment Facility has received numerous letters of commendation from the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control and has had several nominations for EPA's Excellence in Operation Award.

The facility currently treats over 2 million gallons per day and in it's 23 years of operation has returned over 12 billion gallons of unpolluted water back to the environment.

Industrial Pretreatment Program
In 1987 the Water Quality Division implemented an Industrial Pretreatment Program in accordance with regulations mandated by the USEPA. The program is designed to give the City the authority to limit certain concentrations and quantities of compounds in industrial discharges, which have the potential to interfere with the effectiveness of the Covington Wastewater Treatment Plant to remove pollutants, which could damage our receiving stream, the Hatchie River. Under the guidelines of this program we are required to annually inspect industries on our sewer system, issue discharge permits if deemed necessary and are given the authority to apply enforcement actions for non-compliance. Presently we have six permitted industries in our program. We are responsible for establishing permits for each industry, routine inspections of each industry, conducting our own sampling and analysis program, mandating self monitoring programs for each industry, determining compliance with permits and issuing enforcement actions as necessary. To ensure our compliance with the program, we are subject to annual pretreatment audits conducted by the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control.