HCWA Receives Four Major Industry Awards

At a time when the industry is recognizing National Drinking Water Week (May 2-8, 2021, and Water Professionals Appreciation Day in Georgia (May 3), the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) also is celebrating four major industry awards.

The Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) announced the awards recently during its Spring Conference, which is being held virtually through a series of events that conclude on May 20.  

From the operations at the treatment facilities to the public education in the community, the HCWA has received GAWP awards for outstanding performances this past year. Those accolades included:

The GAWP Education Program of Excellence Award for Water Systems.

GAWP Platinum Awards for both the Towaliga and Tussahaw Water Treatment Plants.

Finally, the GAWP Gold Award for 100% permit compliance this past year for the Bear Creek Land Application System (LAS).

The GAWP Education Program of Excellence Award is presented annually to recognize superior public education programming. Applicants can compete for the Awards in various categories, such as outstanding educational programming by a water system, which is the program area where the HCWA was a winner. 

One of the key contributors to HCWA educational programming is the Authority’s Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center in Locust Grove, which hosts educational and outreach events annually for local schools, civic clubs, and even state and national organizations.

The GAWP Platinum Awards won by the Towaliga and Tussahaw Water Treatment Plants reflect 14 consecutive years these two facilities have operated without a permit violation. Achieving 100% permit compliance is extremely difficult, according to HCWA officials, so doing so for 14 consecutive years is rare among water plants across the state of Georgia. Both of these water plants are past winners of the GAWP Plant of the Year in Georgia – Towaliga most recently in 2019 and in 2015, while Tussahaw was a 2016 winner of the Best Plant in the state.

The Gold Award received by the Bear Creek Land Application System site also reflects 100% permit compliance for the entire year in 2020. The Bear Creek facility in Hampton serves customers that include the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bear Creek is a past winner of the GAWP Wastewater Facility of the Year in Georgia, achieving that top honor in 2013, 2016, and 2018.

“We are very excited and honored to receive these industry awards from GAWP, because they reflect the hard work of our employees as highly respected water professionals,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “The judging for each of these four awards is very intense, made even more challenging during the pandemic. We also received valuable feedback from this peer review, which we hope will make us an even stronger utility in the future.”

Since 1988, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and its members, such as the HCWA, have used National Drinking Water Week as a time to celebrate the vital role water plays in our daily lives.

In addition, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 119 in 2014, designating the Monday of National Drinking Water Week during the first week in May as Water Professionals Appreciation Day in Georgia. This special day of recognition honors the thousands of professionals who work tirelessly to ensure our tap water is safe and water resources are protected and properly managed, says Pam Burnett, GAWP Executive Director. 

Making Water Professionals Appreciation Day more significant this year is the recognition of water professionals as essential workers during the pandemic.

“We estimate that at least 10,000 people in Georgia are involved in the water industry,” says Burnett. “In many communities, the public water system is one of the largest employers and the backbone of the local economy. Water professionals provide critical services that are most often taken for granted but are essential to virtually everything we do.” 


Caption for top photo:

Lindy Farmer (foreground), HCWA General Manager, and staff from the Towaliga and Tussahaw Water Treatment Plants, celebrate GAWP Platinum Awards for 100% permit compliance for 14 consecutive years. The HCWA received four industry awards this spring. 

Caption for bottom photo:

Lindsey Sanders (far right), HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator, who led the Authority’s efforts to apply for and win the GAWP Public Education Program of Excellence Award, speaks to a group of students from Youth Leadership Henry earlier this year at the Cubihatcha Center. Events and programming such as this are what led to the HCWA receiving this top industry honor in public education.


Media contact:     Chris Wood, Ph.D.

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