RWR receives awards for water quality

Rockdale County is home to some of the best water in the state, according to the Georgia Association of Water Professionals.

GAWP presented Rockdale Water Resources with six awards for compliance in state and national standards at the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

RWR received a 2010 Gold Award from GAWP and received the best tasting water award for 2010. RWR received the best tasting water award in 2006, as well.

Additionally, RWR received 97.5, the highest score ever awarded to a water treatment facility.

"This is getting to be a habit to come back," said Bryan Wagoner, communications director of GAWP. "It is our privilege, as water professionals, to recognize exceptional achievement -- exceptional achievement in the arena of environmental protection, water quality, protection."

Wagoner said GAWP tracks 250 of the top facilities in the state, and a Gold Award is given for complete compliance to federal and state standards 365 days a year.

"And that is a formidable task," Wagoner said of complete compliance. "You talk about every two hours, that's not just one test every two hours; it's a litany of tests every two hours. It ends up being thousands of tests throughout the year."

Rockdale's water treatment facility received the drinking water/tap water compliance award, and all five wastewater treatment plants received national water pollution control compliance awards. The Honey Creek wastewater treatment plant also received a Plant of the Year award.

RWR's sewage treatment system consists of the main Quigg Branch treatment plant on Tatum Road and four smaller plants serving neighborhoods in south Rockdale County.

"It's a little different from a Gold Award. A Gold Award you're basically competing against your permit, against criteria the federal and state government sets out," Wagoner said. "The Plant of the Year involves a rigorous inspection by professionals that come out, scour through your plant-- your records, your paperwork, they go through the facility -- and you actually compete against other facilities in your category across the entire state of Georgia. This actually is a very, very high achievement for Rockdale County."

Dwight Wicks, director of RWR, expressed his thanks to his department for their hard work in meeting the standards.

"I'm extremely happy and extremely proud of the job that these plants have done, both the water treatment and the wastewater facilities," Wicks said.

Elaine Nash, chairwoman of the Rockdale County Water and Sewage Authority, also expressed thanks to RWR employees in a video presented at the meeting.

"It's an awesome task that they do," Nash said. "They are unthanked, nobody even knows that they exist, but they do this day after day and year after year. And we are extremely proud of their achievement."

The video presentation from the meeting will be broadcast as a PSA on Rockdale 23.