The Etowah Water and Sewer Authority recently walked away with several awards during the spring conference of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals, or GAWP, a conference awarding and recognizing the best water and wastewater utilities in the State of Georgia.
The authority's Hightower Water Treatment Facility won the 2016 GAWP Plant of the Year Award by outshining all other facilities in Georgia.
The facility competed in the category of surface water treatment plants with capacities of 3 to 8.99 million gallons per day (MGD). The Hightower plant also received the Gold Award from GAWP.
Opening for water production in 1986, the Hightower plant currently has a capacity of 5.5 MGD.
Brooke Anderson, general manager of the authority, said that with the completion of the Russell Creek Reservoir, the Hightower plant will be expanded as required to meet and serve the water needs of Dawson County with an ultimate capacity of 17.5 MGD.
In addition to the Hightower plant, the Dawson Forest Water Reclamation Facility also came away as the winner of the GAWP Wastewater Plant of the Year Award. The Dawson Forest plant also received a Platinum Award from GAWP.
"The Dawson Forest Water Reclamation Facility began its operation in 1995 to provide sewer services for the outlet mall and commercial properties along the 400 corridor," Anderson said.
The Dawson Forest plant currently has a capacity of 1 MGD and will be expanded as required to meet and serve the water needs of Dawson County with an ultimate capacity of 10 MGD.
"These Plant of the Year Awards are a testament to the diligence and non-stop hard work ethics of the management and staff of the authority," Anderson said. "We are blessed to have excellent staff of top operators and employees."
Anderson said it is rare that both the water and wastewater won simultaneous awards.
"Staff from both plants set their minds to win the top award," Anderson said. "We pride ourselves in running top quality plants and providing excellent drinking water to our customers and protecting the environment."
Rounding out the honors, the Hightower Water Treatment Facility also won a District Achievement award for "Best Tasting Drinking Water."
Anderson said, simply, that "the authority has the best tasting water in North Georgia."
The accolades join the authority's long list of awards, including ten certificates of achievement for excellence in financial reporting, numerous public education awards and a variety of community outreach and other awards.