Authority Receives Nine Industry Awards

It was the industry conference that never took place, due to the Shelter in Place orders and social distancing implemented statewide during the month of April. But the awards and honors earned by the best utilities in Georgia this spring for outstanding achievements are as real as the pandemic that negated their formal presentation.

While the cancellation of the Spring Conference of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) took the event’s awards program with it, the industry’s leaders still honored the best of the best water utilities in the state. 

The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) is among select company after receiving nine GAWP Spring Awards, recognizing individuals, facilities and programs noted for excellence.

The HCWA received the following GAWP Spring Awards:

* Best Operated Water Treatment Plant Certificate of Achievement AND Platinum Award for the Tussahaw Water Treatment Facility.

* Best Operated Water Treatment Plant Certificate of Achievement AND Platinum Award for the Towaliga Water Treatment Facility.

* Wastewater Facility Gold Award for the Indian Creek Water Reclamation Facility.

* Land Application System (LAS) Gold Award for the Bear Creek Facility.

* Golden Hydrant Society Induction for Andy Young.

* District 3 Top Water Plant Operator for Sheila Kern.

* Education Program of Excellence Award.

The Certificate of Achievement Awards recognize those water and wastewater plants that have demonstrated outstanding performances in metrics such as safety, maintenance, operations, documentation, lab analysis, industrial monitoring, and more. The Certificates of Achievements are honorable mentions for facilities in the running for Water or Wastewater Plants of the Year.

The Gold and Platinum Awards are given to those facilities who have achieved 100 percent permit compliance for an entire year, with Gold reflecting no permit violations during this past year and Platinum reflecting a minimum of five consecutive years without a permit violation. Both the Tussahaw and Towaliga Water Treatment Plants have achieved 100 percent permit compliance for 13 consecutive years.

The Top Op Award is presented to a water professional from each of the GAWP’s eight districts in the state. The award honors a plant operator who has excelled in his/her duties and sets an example for others. This is considered a high honor for operators working in water, wastewater, distribution, and/or collections. Sheila Kern, this year’s District 3 Top Op, is a Class 1 Operator at The Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant. She has the highest level of professional certification attainable in the industry.

The Golden Hydrant Society is an exclusive fraternity of the top water professionals in the state, as selected by the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA). This honor recognizes water professionals for outstanding service and achievement, who have advanced the drinking water industry over the course of their careers. Each year, GAWWA selects five water professionals for induction into the Golden Hydrant Society. Andy Young, one of this year’s Golden Hydrant Society inductees, is Operations Supervisor at the Towaliga Water Treatment Plant.

Finally, the Education Program of Excellence Award recognizes superior public education programming to advance the utility’s and the industry’s efforts to educate citizens about the water, wastewater, or stormwater fields. Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator who submitted the utility’s winning application for the GAWP Education Program of Excellence Award, is instrumental in organizing and executing the Authority’s Public Education programming and events. In addition, the staff of Naturalists and Partners at the Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center in Locust Grove are the focal point of community outreach and education for the HCWA.

“What’s evident in our statewide industry awards this spring is how diverse they are in representing nearly every aspect of our entire utility operations, from our work at the plants to our service in the community,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager, who is the senior most tenured water utility chief executive in Georgia. “I think that reflects well on the dedication and professionalism of our employees in all of our departments throughout the Authority.”

Captions for Photos:

Top Photo: Lindsey Sanders (left), HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator, chats with Division Managers Pat Hembree (center) and Scott Sage (right), during their judging of this year’s Georgia Model Water Tower Competition. Sanders submitted a winning application on behalf of the Authority for the 2020 GAWP Education Program of Excellence Award.

Bottom Photo: The HCWA Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center staff is pictured with Henry County teachers during last year’s Rain to Drain workshops. These workshops, along with many other programs and events held at the Cubihatcha Center in Locust Grove, helped the HCWA win the water industry’s Education Program of Excellence Award.


Media contact:            

Chris Wood, Ph.D.

P: 770-757-1681

E: chris@jwapr.comOR