HCWA Hosts 2020 Rivers Alive at Gardner Reservoir

When litter hits the ground, it’s only a matter of time before it makes its way into a water body that might be a source for drinking water. That’s why the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) and Henry County Stormwater Management partnered with Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) to hold the 2020 Henry County Rivers Alive at the utility’s Gardner Reservoir.

Approximately 20 volunteers from AMS joined staff from the HCWA and Henry County Stormwater to clean up trails and portions of the shoreline around the 209-acre drinking water resource located in Locust Grove (GA).

Maintaining social distance, or wearing masks when necessary, the AMS volunteers collected approximately 25 bags of trash, which equated to about a quarter of a ton of trash, including items like old car tires, luggage, sheets and blankets, clothing, bottles and cans, as well as plenty of other debris.

“The Atlanta Motor Speedway family enjoys pitching in and helping our community as much as we enjoy race day,” says Brandon Hutchison, AMS Executive Vice President and General Manager. “We all work here in Henry County, and many of us proudly call it home, so it’s gratifying to team up with the Henry County Water Authority to make a difference in neighborhoods we hold dear.”

Henry County Rivers Alive is affiliated with the Georgia Rivers Alive campaign, which is the annual waterway cleanup targeting water bodies all across the state, including creeks, streams, rivers, lakes/reservoirs, beaches, and wetlands.

Rivers Alive is an outreach program of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). The objective of Rivers Alive is to create awareness of and involvement in the preservation of Georgia’s water resources.

“While the pandemic has created challenges for all of us, it was great to be able to hold our event because of the dedication of the Water Authority and Cubihatcha Center staff, along with the enthusiasm of the folks from Atlanta Motor Speedway,” says Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator. “As a water utility, we must continually protect water quality and preserve natural resources, and these volunteer efforts helped us do just that.”

Sanders and HCWA officials also took time to remind friends from AMS – while educating the public as well – about some habits and practices that can really help protect local water quality. Some tips include picking up and disposing of pet waste, keeping yard clippings out of storm drains, putting trash in its place to keep litter off the streets, using pesticides and herbicides judiciously, and more. Additional information on protecting water quality is available on the Authority’s website at under the “Be the Solution to Water Pollution” tab.

“Rivers Alive is one of our most important community outreach events of the year, because it has a direct impact on the quality of water in our reservoirs,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “We are very appreciative of the employees from the Atlanta Motor Speedway for taking an active role in helping us protect this critical natural resource.”

Georgia’s waterways, which include more than 70,000 miles of streams and rivers, provide state residents with water for finished drinking water production and recreational opportunities like fishing and boating, while serving as natural resources that add to the quality of life and economic development in the state. 

The Authority’s Gardner Reservoir is named in memory of former HCWA Chairman of the Board Howell Gardner. The site of this year’s Henry County Rivers Alive is the smallest of the five drinking water reservoirs owned and operated by the Authority, providing a water supply for the production of clean drinking water for more than 60,000 customer accounts.


Caption(s) for photo(s):

(Top) Approximately 20 volunteers from Atlanta Motor Speedway worked to remove trash and debris from around the Gardner Reservoir during this year’s Henry County Rivers Alive cleanup.

(Second from top) Jeb Holder, with Henry County Stormwater Management, picks us trash and debris during the 2020 Henry County Rivers Alive.

(Second from bottom) Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator, leads volunteers through the cleanup site at the Gardner Reservoir during this year’s Henry County Rivers Alive.

(Bottom) During the 2020 Henry County Rivers Alive, volunteers from Atlanta Motor Speedway joined the staff of the HCWA and Henry County Stormwater Management to remove approximately 25 bags of trash weighing nearly a quarter of a ton from around the Gardner Reservoir. HCWA Cubihatcha Center staffer Josh Hillan (pictured in background) removes some of those bags during the annual cleanup.



Media Contact:    Chris Wood, Ph.D.

                                    P: 770-757-1681 

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HCWA Contact:    Lindsey Sanders, Environmental Compliance Coordinator

                                    P: 678-583-3809