The Big Springs water treatment plant in Martinsburg is producing water for the first time with a new carbon filtration system.
In May 2016, the plant received notice from the West Virginia Department of Health that it had contaminants in the water supply. The plant was forced to shut down until June 2016, then last month the plant began operating with a new process that cleans the water.
“It comes raw from the stream down below and it comes in and the water gets filtered and from there it goes out to the plant and distributes out to the community and it’s all clean water. You can drink it,” said George Burke, Field Superintendent.
Each of the vessels holds 40,000 pounds of carbon.
Officials said the contaminants seemed to come from the local air guard base. The upgraded plant, which overseas its water supply from an underground aquifer has been treating up to 2,000 gallons per minute. The City of Martinsburg has two water filtration plants, another in Kilmer Springs.
“The existing plant could not remove this contaminant. That’s why we had to construct this additional treatment which is a granular activated carbon process,” said Steve Knipe, Utilities Director.
The water treatment serves the city of Martinsburg and some Berkeley County residents outside the city jurisdiction. Officials said they anticipate the other half of the process to be online by late February or early March.
As of now, officials say it is safe to use the water.