By Valerie Baldowski
Feedback from the first open house and tour of the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant and Reservoir has been positive, and officials with the Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority say another such event may be planned for next year.
The authority observed National Drinking Water Week, May 3-9, with the tours and an open house, held May 2.
About 150 guests participated in the tours and the accompanying educational demonstrations held throughout the day, said Chris Wood, a spokesperson for the water authority.
"We were pleasantly surprised," Wood said. "We had one [group] right after another. The timing worked great."
During the tours, guests were able to see the various stages of how drinking water is prepared, including insights on how the authority conducts periodic tests of water samples from the plant's laboratory, said Wood.
"We're very proud of this facility, and our customers were able to see why we think it's among the best of its kind in the state," said Authority General Manager Lindy Farmer, in a press release.
The activities raised awareness of the process of producing safe, clean drinking water for the county, Wood said.
"Making drinking water is a production process," he explained. "It's taking raw water, and making it into a finished product. A lot of steps go through that."
Wood said guests obtained tips for wise water use around the house, provided by Tonja Mincey, the authority's environmental specialist, as well as gardening tips offered by Max Breckenridge.
"We were thrilled at the turnout," said Mincey.
Based on the feedback received this year, plans are to organize another open house and tour for next year's National Drinking Water Week, she said. "We're really pleased, and we were happy that the customers were interested in how water is produced."
The water authority's Reservoirs and Land Management Department employees were present to discuss fishing opportunities on reservoirs, and activities at the Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center.
Representatives from the county Extension Service and the county Stormwater Department were also on hand to educate the public on the work they do in the community.
National Drinking Water Week is always held the first full week of May each year, and because this year's activities were so successful, Wood said he hopes to see another series of tours next year.