May 15, 2008

Macon, Ga., Water Authority Honored at Meeting of Georgia Association of Water Professionals

Macon Water Authority took home awards for Plant of the Year, best tasting drinking water, two top operators and permit compliance

Not only is its water plant the best in the state of Georgia for the third time in six years, but the water it produces has been rated the best tasting in Middle Georgia as well.

Those accolades, coupled with top operator and gold and platinum honors for its water and wastewater plants, made for a near clean sweep of awards by the Macon Water Authority (MWA) at the spring conference of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP), held recently in Columbus, Ga.

The GAWP spring conference recognizes the best facilities and plant operators in the state of Georgia each year, as well as offering technical sessions for industry professionals to share valuable information on water and wastewater operations. The MWA secured seven awards at the GAWP spring conference this year, while employees from the sewer conveyance department participated in a technical session that highlighted the GAWP collection system award winners, which included the MWA, from last year.

The Authority’s Frank C. Amerson, Jr. Water Treatment Plant once again has been selected by the GAWP as the Plant of the Year in the state of Georgia. The Amerson Plant is the state’s best-operated facility among those with a capacity of 15 million gal per day (mgd) or more, in the large surface water system category. This Plant of the Year award is the third won by the Amerson Plant over the last six years, when it first became eligible for the award. The Amerson Plant, which opened in 2000 with a production capacity of 60 mgd, was the best of its kind in Georgia in 2002 and 2005, as well.

“Water and wastewater treatment plants of the year recipients were selected for their outstanding operation during 2007,” said Jack Dozier, executive director of the GAWP. “Plants are evaluated by volunteer inspectors, and just some of the criteria for the award include permit monitoring, treatment processes and safety. These facilities are the best of the best, because of the level of scrutiny upon which they are judged.”

In addition to having its water treatment plant win GAWP’s Plant of the Year award this year, the drinking water produced at the Amerson Plant was rated as the best tasting in Middle Georgia as well.

With the district award for the best tasting water comes the opportunity for the Authority to participate in the statewide taste test this summer at the GAWP’s annual conference in Atlanta.

The MWA also boasts the top plant operators in GAWP’s District 5, in both the water and wastewater plant categories. Jarad Zellner, an operator at the Amerson Water Treatment Plant, and Larry Reynolds, an operator at the Lower Poplar Street Water Reclamation Facility, were the “Top Op” winners in the water plant and wastewater plant categories, respectively.

“The top operators are recognized as a moving force in the operations of their respective facilities,” added Dozier. “These outstanding operators are an example to others, as they are able to impart knowledge that helps in the operation of water and wastewater (utilities) across the state.”

The remaining awards taken home by the MWA at the GAWP spring conference were Gold or Platinum Awards for each of its three facilities. The Gold Award, which was received by both the Amerson and Lower Poplar plants, represents one full year of 100% permit compliance at a facility with no permit violations.

Even more difficult to attain is the GAWP Platinum Award, which is given to facilities with at least five consecutive years of 100% operating permit compliance. The MWA’s Rock Creek Water Reclamation Facility took home the Platinum Award yet again, boasting a clean record of nine straight years without a permit violation.