Water Plant of the Year Headlines State Awards for the Authority

Customers of the Henry County Water Authority’s (HCWA) Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant are enjoying tap water produced by the Best Operated Water Plant in the state, according to the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA). 

The Tussahaw’s GAWWA Award for Plant of the Year was in the category of facilities with 15 to 25 million gallons per day (MGD) of production capacity. It was one of several awards the HCWA brought home from the recent Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) Spring Conference in Dalton. In all, the HCWA received the following awards:

* GAWWA Best Operated Water Plant of the Year – Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant

* GAWP Education Program of Excellence Award

* Robert Sims – GAWP Golden Wrench Award as the Top Maintenance Technician 

* Michael Dodson – GAWP Top Collections System Operator Award for District 3

* Certificate of Distinguished Merit – Towaliga Water Treatment Plant

* Platinum Award – Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant

* Platinum Award – Towaliga Water Treatment Plant

* Gold Award – Bear Creek Water Reclamation Facility

The HCWA Tussahaw Plant is a four-time recipient of the Plant of the Year Award, having won previously in 2021, 2016, and 2011. In addition, the Tussahaw Plant’s Platinum Award was for 17 consecutive years of 100% permit compliance. Thus, the Tussahaw Plant has not had a permit violation since it came online in 2007. 

The GAWWA Water Treatment Plant of the Year Award is presented annually, recognizing municipal water treatment facilities that have been operated in an outstanding manner, with categories based on facility size. This award is given to the best managed, best operated facilities in the state of Georgia. To win this award, not only is the score compiled and considered by water industry judges, but all aspects of the facility are evaluated – such as safety, maintenance operations, documentation, lab operations and industrial monitoring. 

“To receive the Plant of the Year Award, the Tussahaw Plant operations were fully inspected and scored on a 100-point system and ranked ‘first place’ against other plants of similar size and complexity, so this is a well-operated facility that produces excellent quality drinking water, which Henry County water customers can rely on,” says Pam Burnett, GAWP Executive Director. “As an award-winning facility, the Tussahaw Plant and the water professionals who operate it are held in high regard and inspire others to achieve this level of recognition, benefitting their own communities.”

The Platinum Award for the HCWA Towaliga Water Treatment Plant also represents 17 consecutive years without a permit violation. The Towaliga Plant is a previous Plant of the Year Award winner as well, bringing home this honor in 2015 and most recently in 2019. The facility was just 1.42 points behind in the grading of the Tussahaw Plant for the Plant of the Year honor, thus earning it the Certificate of Distinguished Merit as an honorable mention in the competition. 

The Gold Award for the Bear Creek Water Reclamation Facility represents 100% permit compliance – no permit violations – for the 2023 calendar year. When a facility reaches at least five consecutive years of 100% compliance, it qualifies for the Platinum Award.

The GAWP Education Award recognizes those utilities and organizations who plan and implement superior public education programs. The HCWA won the Education Program of Excellence Award in the category of water conservation/water supply. 

The GAWP Top Technician or Golden Wrench Award recognizes a mechanic who performs at a level of excellence that is above and beyond normal expectations of a maintenance technician.

The GAWP Top Op Awards are presented to members of the Association who are certified water, wastewater, water distribution, or wastewater collections operators. The Top Op Award recognizes these operators who excel in their duties while setting a positive example and serving as a mentor to others. This award is presented to a Top Op in each of the four categories throughout eight districts, and it is one of the highest honors an operator can receive. 

For the Authority’s Michael Dodson, GAWP Top Op Awards run in the family. His wife Crystal Dodson, who is a wastewater plant operator for the Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA), won this year’s GAWP District 3 Top Wastewater Operator Award.

Captions for photos (top to bottom):

Eric Osborne (far right), HCWA Water Production Manager, and Barry Brand (second from right), HCWA Operations Supervisor of Water Production for the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant, accept the GAWP Best Operated Water Plant of the Year Award on behalf of the HCWA.

Jeffrey Scott (center, left), HCWA Naturalist, and Lorenzo Bennett (center, right), HCWA Naturalist, accept the GAWP Education Program of Excellence Award on behalf of the Authority at the recent GAWP Spring Conference in Dalton.

Robert Sims (center), HCWA Maintenance Technologist within the Water & Sewer Operations Department who has been with the Authority for eight years, receives the GAWP Golden Wrench Award as the top maintenance technician in the state.

Michael Dodson (center, left), HCWA Sewer Line Maintenance Field Supervisor who has been with the Authority for more than 13 years, receives the GAWP Collections Top Op Award during the recent GAWP Spring Conference in Dalton.



Media Contact:     Chris Wood, Ph.D.

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