FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker’s drinking water consistently scores high marks on the annual Consumer Confidence Report.
The post’s water is tested at different locations throughout the year, according to Ryan Arne, Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Works director.
“Since our water system is privatized through American Water Enterprises, they make sure that all water testing parameters are within the recommended standards,” he added. “The water system is monitored regularly, as well, for bacteria and other chemical substances that may find their way into the water source. Fort Rucker’s drinking water is in full compliance with U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Standards.”
Fort Rucker’s water system is Army owned, privately managed by American Water, and state enforced and permitted, Arne said, adding that the system is capable of producing 5 million gallons a day of treated and finished water.
The majority of the water consumed on Fort Rucker comes from seven water wells on main post, Arne said. “These water wells draw from deep aquifers – namely the Tuscahoma Sand, Providence Sand, Clayton, Ripley and Nanafalia aquifers.”
American Water performs routine water sampling per strict Alabama Department of Environmental Management regulations and there were no violations or exceedance of water quality parameters at Fort Rucker in 2021, he said, adding that Fort Rucker’s water consistently scores well on annual tests, as well.
Water testing results are summarized in the latest annual Consumer Confidence Report, which can be found at http://www.amwater.com/ccr/fortrucker.pdf.
While the report should instill confidence in the Fort Rucker community using that water at a rate of almost 900,000 gallons a day, it also helps Col. Robert J. Holcombe, garrison commander and on-post housing resident, sleep well at night.
“Fort Rucker is our home, and clean water is a basic necessity – we keep a close watch on the quality of water our community consumes,” he said. “We won’t allow any missteps with the quality of our water. I have the utmost confidence in our team at DPW and American Water – they’re talented professionals who realize the importance of their mission.”
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency sets standards and regulations for many different contaminants in public drinking water, including disease-causing germs and chemicals, Arne said.
“The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed by Congress in 1974, with amendments added in 1986 and 1996, to protect our drinking water,” he added. “Under the SDWA, the EPA sets the standards for drinking water quality, and monitors the state, local authorities and water suppliers who enforce those standards. As part of the SDWA, EPA has set maximum contaminant levels, as well as treatment requirements for over 90 different contaminants in public drinking water.”
Additionally, National Primary Drinking Water Regulations are standards and treatment techniques that public water systems must follow. “These regulations protect public health by limiting contaminant levels in drinking water,” Arne said.
There are a number of threats to drinking water, he added, including improperly disposed of chemicals, animal waste, pesticides, human threats, wastes injected underground and naturally-occurring substances. Likewise, drinking water that is not properly treated or disinfected, or which travels through an improperly maintained distribution system, may also pose a health risk.
Above and beyond the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, are the National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations, he said.
“Color and smell pertains to the aesthetic quality of the drinking water and is referred to in a regulatory sense as National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations,” he added. “These are guidelines to help public water systems manage their drinking water for issues not related to health, such as taste, color and smell.
“Chloride, copper, foaming agents, iron, manganese pH, sulfate, threshold odor number, total dissolved solids and zinc are examples of contaminants that we look for in drinking water relative to secondary standards,” Arne said, adding that there are no health hazards associated with discolored water. “Odor and taste are useful indicators of water quality, even though odor-free water may not necessarily be safe to drink if all other parameters are not met. Odor is also an indicator of the effectiveness of different kinds of treatment.”
These contaminants are not health threatening and public water systems only need to test for them on a voluntary basis, according to the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/sdwa/secondary-drinking-water-standards-guidance-nuisance-chemicals.
“The EPA believes that if these contaminants are present in your water at levels above these standards, the contaminants may cause the water to appear cloudy or colored, or to taste or smell bad,” according to the EPA site. “This may cause a great number of people to stop using water from their public water system even though the water is actually safe to drink.”
Secondary standards are set to give public water systems some guidance on removing these chemicals to levels that are below what most people will find to be noticeable, according to the EPA.
For more information on Fort Rucker’s water and other environmental information, visit