HCWA wins Water and Sewer System Awards
While the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) continues to host its industry conferences virtually, they are no less impactful for water utilities recognized for excellence, especially during one of the most challenging years in history for utilities as a result of the current pandemic.
The GAWP Fall Conference, held virtually over several weeks in November and December, featured statewide industry awards for water/sewer utilities to close out the year. The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) was recognized among the best of the best in operations of both water and sewer systems in Georgia.
GAWP recognized the HCWA with the Collection System Platinum Award of Excellence as well as the Water Distribution System Platinum Award.
This past year marked the fourth consecutive year the HCWA has received the GAWP Collection System of Excellence Platinum Award, which requires five consecutive years of operations at a grade of 95% or higher, as judged by fellow water professionals. GAWP Collection System Excellence Awards recognize those utilities in Georgia that strive to continually improve their systems through proper management, maintenance, and operations.
The criteria for the award follow the practices set forth in the utility’s Capacity, Management, Operation, and Maintenance (CMOM) Program to reduce and prevent sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). That criteria includes preventative maintenance, system evaluation, rehabilitation programs, and training, among many other checklist items.
In addition to winning the GAWP Platinum Award of Excellence for its sewer system, the HCWA also received the Water Distribution System Platinum Award for “operating in an outstanding manner.” This award recognizes water utility excellence in management, operations, and maintenance of water distribution systems.
This is the first year the HCWA has received the Platinum Award for its Water Distribution System, as it represents five consecutive years of recording a grade of 95% or higher on the annual system evaluation by industry judges consisting of fellow water professionals.
The HCWA Water Distribution System is categorized as a “Large” System in Georgia, with more than 50,000 customer accounts, according to the classification used by the state industry association.
In addition to the recognition, the Water Distribution System Platinum Award prepares the HCWA for its Georgia EPD Sanitary Survey, which is another comprehensive review of the HCWA water distribution system, except by the state’s leading regulatory agency. GAWP officials note this award also demonstrates to HCWA customers the quality of their water utility.
The ultimate goal of the GAWP system review process to determine statewide awards is to create incentives for utilities to push themselves to improve their operations. In addition, the water professionals who serve as volunteer judges are able to collaborate with the staffs they are evaluating to learn from their successes and the successes of other utilities.
“I am so proud of our staff for their dedication every day to maintain the highest possible level of excellence in the operation of both our water distribution and sewer collection and conveyance systems,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager, who is the longest tenured chief executive of a water utility in the state. “These two statewide awards are not only a reflection of the outstanding performance by our employees, but they also provide evidence that our entire organization is committed to delivering the best possible water and sewer services to our customers.”
Chris Wood, Ph.D.