Morrow, Ga., Dec. 9, 2003 -- Members of the Maintenance and Construction department at the Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) are proving that hard work and perseverance pay off.
The Georgia Water and Pollution Control Association (GW&PCA) recently announced that the CCWA has been selected as the Water Distribution System of the Year for 2003. The award was presented to the Authority on Nov. 18 at the GW&PCA Fall Conference in Athens.
The award is the culmination of over four years of hard work for the authority , including some initiatives outlined in the most recent 10-year master plan for the Authority, entitled the Water Resources Initiative 2000, says Wade Brannan, general manager of the CCW A.
"It took foresight on behalf of our board to allow us to put into action the programs that are now receiving this high honor," says Brannan. "We knew that it was only a matter of time until these programs got the recognition we had hoped for ."
The award comes after an eight-hour inspection by members of the GW&PCA committee. Inspectors analyzed every aspect of the water distribution system along with hundreds of pages of documentation during the process. Specific areas surveyed were employee certifications, mapping, valve and pump station maintenance, water quality, customer relations, planning, inspections, storage tanks, safety, material supply, vehicle maintenance, leak detection and meter reading. All of these programs combined to give the CCWA the highest rating ever given by the GW&PCA.
According to Herb Etheridge, manager of maintenance and construction at CCW A, two specific programs were vital to the superb rating -- the CCWA meter testing/repair and leak detection programs. Both are being recognized nationwide as a model for other systems.
Visitors from as far as San Antonio, Texas have come to Clayton County to study the programs. These innovations have allowed the CCW A to experience less than a nine percent water loss in recent years, well below the industry standard of 15%.
Even with a strong investment in such new technologies, the Authority's human resources are what helped put them over the top for this industry award, says Etheridge.
"The first thing they asked me to do was to name two programs/items that made our system unique," he says. "The answer was very simple, our excellent employees and the outstanding leadership provided by our Board of Directors. We have a very dedicated, well trained, and capable staff that function as a team in all situations."
Although specifically given to the maintenance and construction division of the Authority, the award required the efforts of all five CCWA departments. The GW&PCA committee interviewed people from all areas of the utility's operations as part of its inspection.
"I am so proud of the employees of this Authority," says Pete McQueen, Chairman of the CCW A Board. "With their skills and talents, they are able to put to use the tools we policymakers try to provide them. As a board member, I get a great deal of satisfaction when I see such a rewarding return on that kind investment."