A laboratory in the city of Fort Smith's Utility Department was recently re-certified, not only allowing the lab to continue analysis of surface water and wastewater, but also serve as a backup to state labs in Little Rock.
According to the city, the re-certification came from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, certifying the city's labs to analyze surface water and wastewater in addition to the analysis of drinking water, for which the city received re-certification from the Arkansas Department of Health last spring.
"The Laboratory staff analyzes in excess of 600 samples per month, most of the samples having multiple parameters measured. The samples we analyze come from our water supplies, water treatment plans, the water distribution system, industries, wastewater collection system, wastewater plants, and even the Arkansas River," said Environmental Manager Lance McAvoy.
McAvoy went on to say that the testing done by the city's lab staff ensures safe drinking water meeting all state and federal requirements.
"The Laboratory Staff of five full-time scientists and two part-time laboratory assistants is committed to protecting our citizens and our environment," he said. "Our latest ADEQ certification expands the Laboratory's certification to perform additional analyses beyond our previous certification."
According to the press release, the city of Fort Smith is the only municipality in Arkansas to hold dual certifications, allowing it to not only be a backup to state labs in Little Rock but also allow waterworks organizations around the Fort Smith area to "frequently use the Fort Smith Laboratory for boil order analysis to assure protection of their citizens."