Brentwood’s Water in Great Shape, According to State Review

Brentwood’s water supply got high marks in recent tests performed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The sanitary survey was carried out in November by the stage agency and scored Brentwood’s water supply as 418 out of 421, or 99%.

Chris Milton, the director of Brentwood’s Water Services department, said that the sanitary surveys occurred randomly.

“The state periodically will conduct these surveys, or audits as we call them, unannounced from time to time,” Milton said. “You never know when they’ll show up.”

He said it had been about 24 months since the last state audit. In all the tests since 2010, Milton said, the city had not scored lower than 98 percent.

These audits are in addition to the annual water quality report that the city’s water services department is required by law to produce. Not all states require states to do sanitary surveys in addition to local reporting, Milton said.

“It’s just one extra level of assurance to the public that the water utilities are being operated to ensure quality control and public health,” Milton said of the state survey.

The water department is constantly testing the quality of Brentwood’s water supply. On a daily basis, the department tests chlorine residue and does bacteriological sampling, Milton said. Tests for things like lead and copper occur periodically, as do tests for “unregulated contaminants,” which Milton described as substances that the EPA had not yet deemed harmful, but could some day.

The sanitary survey is basically a review of the testing that the water services department conducts.

“What they’re doing is they come in and go through all of our records,” Milton said. “They audit all of our records. All of the sampling we do.”

The state also seeks to replicate the water department’s results to ensure their accuracy.

“They do field inspections too to make sure that the data we have on file is what they’re seeing in the field,” Milton said.

Brentwood’s water is bought wholesale from two agencies that source it from the Cumberland River. Roughly 75 percent of it is bought from the Harpeth Valley Utilities District, while the other 25 percent or so is purchased from Metro Nashville.

Milton reminded residents of one thing, though, about that water supply.

“The City of Brenwtood does not supply water to the entire city of Brentwood,” he said, explaining that parts of the city get their water from other utilities. Some of the water in the eastern part of Brentwood, for instance, is provided by the Nolensville Utility District.

A good thing about Brentwood’s water supply, Milton said, is that it doesn’t flow through lead pipes, which were common in systems built years ago.

“Brentwood is a relatively young system by comparison, so the public system does not have any lead in it,” he said.

Milton cautioned, though, that this did not mean that some older homes could not have lead pipes internally.

He urged owners of older homes — those built before about 1970, he said — to contact a water testing company if they suspected they might have lead pipes.

As far as the water coming from the city, though, Milton said that the sanitary survey shows residents that they should feel good about their water.

“Overall, it’s a very high score of confidence from the state… that Brentwood’s system is providing a very high quality of water to its citizens,” Milton said.

Milton encouraged Brentwood residents to visit the water services department’s website to stay informed of its activities.