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Water treatment plant receives award

POSTED: April 1, 2009 4:00 a.m.
Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton/

Class 1 Operator Shaun Beil, left, and Lead Operator Darrell Kight proudly display an award that the Hightower Water Treatment Facility received from the CDC for its efforts to maintain consistent water quality for Dawson County.

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Last week, Dawson County’s water treatment plant, the Hightower Water Treatment Facility, received a 2007 Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The award recognizes those communities that have maintained a consistent level of optimally fluoridated water for the calendar year.


“Receiving this award further demonstrates our commitment of water quality to our customers,” said David Chester, water plant superintendent. “We do three more tests a day than is required of us to ensure the quality of the water.”


As addressed by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, community water fluoridation has been recognized by the CDC as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century.


Upon receiving the award, the Department of Human Resources informed the Hightower Plant that fluoridating a community’s water is the single most effective and efficient means of preventing tooth decay in children and adults regardless of age, race or income.


According to Chester, water treatment facilities are required by the state to check the quality of the water at least once a day; the Hightower Plant does four check procedures each day.


“During one 12-hour shift, about 123 tests are done on the water before it goes to the public,” Chester said.


During round the clock efforts at the plant, fluoride levels are checked and adjusted as needed. Fluoride is added to the water at the plant with a state recommended level of 0.7 to 1.3 milligrams per liter.


“We consistently have a yearly average of 1.0 milligrams per liter, which is an ideal dosage,” Chester said.


Through following additional state requirements, the Hightower Plant submits an average monthly report to the CDC along with a water sample. Information gathered from these records and the consistency of fluoride in the samples are what earned Dawson County’s plant the award.


Brooke Anderson, the general manager of Etowah Water and Sewer Authority is proud of the award and knows the superintendent and operators at the treatment facility work long and hard to supply Dawson County residents with sufficient water.


“This absolutely reflects our unwavering commitment to high quality of water, and the public health and safety of those in the county,” Anderson said.


Equally as proud of the award and the operators in charge of physically testing the water, Chester said: “I’d put our water quality against anybody else in Georgia.”


E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at



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