Five is Mississippi City's Lucky Number

Named after president Grover Cleveland—the 22nd and 24th president of the United States—Cleveland, Miss., was once named one of the "100 Best Small Towns in America." These days, the Mississippi Delta city is getting used to the number five. For five years running, Cleveland's water treatment facility has received a perfect score on the Mississippi State Department of Health's (DOH) annual public water system capacity assessment inspection. The perfect score? Five.

Since 2005 , Cleveland's water system has been designated perfect by the Mississippi DOH’s annual public water system capacity assessment. During the annual inspection, the system's technical, managerial and financial capacities are reviewed. Conducted by a DOH regional engineer, the routine sanitary survey includes reviews of daily log books, housekeeping and bookkeeping records, budget numbers and long-range plans. State-mandated reporting and sampling requirements, water quality samples, security vulnerability studies, emergency response and sample site plans also are reviewed.

The rating is the average score awarded in the three categories: technical, managerial and financial.

The Technical Capacity Assessment focuses on the operation of the water facility, particularly the proper functionality of the system and its processes.

The Managerial Capacity Assessment focuses on recordkeeping, policies, procedures and planning.

The Financial Capacity Assessment focuses on water rates, budgeting, accounts receivable and accounting and audit reports.

In fiscal year 2005, 9% of Mississippi's public water systems received a perfect overall capacity rating. In fiscal year 2009, the average score was 3.96.

Since 1992, the city of Cleveland has trusted private operator Severn Trent Services to operate and manage its water system through a public-private partnership. The system consists of five wells with a combined capacity of 10 mgd, four storage towers and a distribution system, as well as the collection system and 26 lift stations. As part of the collection and distribution system responsibilities, Severn Trent monitors and inspects the systems on a daily basis and is responsible for all repairs and modifications.

Recent upgrades to the system include the addition of chlorine analyzers to the wells to comply with the latest groundwater regulations, and the installation of generators at two wells and the influent pump station.

Severn Trent's relationship with Cleveland began in 1990 with the formation of a public-private partnership to operate and maintain the city's wastewater facility. Severn Trent immediately returned the 3 mgd wastewater plant to compliance by changing irrigation patterns and schedules. Two years later, the contract was expanded to include the city's now-"perfect" water system.

Nearly two decades later, in 2009, the city and Severn Trent renewed their partnership for another five years. Then-Public Works Director Brett Moorman said, "The city council has great confidence in the Severn Trent Services staff. Our public-private partnership with the company places a continuous high priority on the quality of water delivered to customers. The city, water system employees and company representatives set a goal each year to achieve a perfect capacity rating. The result is that the City has one of the best run water systems in the state. This is a partnership that works very well."

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