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Clayton water authority recognized for excellence

Special photo
Georgia Association of Water Professionals President Tony Rojas, water reclamation environmental compliance coordinator, Jennifer Flewellen, and lab analyst, Bridgett Graham, with the Certificate of Merit Award.

Special photo Georgia Association of Water Professionals President Tony Rojas, water reclamation environmental compliance coordinator, Jennifer Flewellen, and lab analyst, Bridgett Graham, with the Certificate of Merit Award.

The Clayton County Water Authority has been recognized for outstanding operation of its collection system and central water reclamation laboratory, said officials.

The authority's Distribution and Conveyance employees took home the 2011 Collection System Gold Award for earning a quantitative inspection score of 95 or higher, said spokeswoman Suzanne Brown.

The authority's W.B. Casey Water Reclamation Central Laboratory staff also took home the Laboratory Quality Assurance Certificate of Distinguished Merit. The awards were given at the annual fall conference of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals.

The authority's general manager, P. Michael Thomas, said the awards reflect the efforts of workers to maintain a high standard of excellence. "We are very proud of these awards and the work our employees do on a daily basis," said Thomas. "They take their jobs as water professionals very serious, and are always working to expand their knowledge and skills, so they can provide the best services to our customers."

The conveyance system programs focus on maintenance of the lines that collect sewage from homes and businesses and transport it through a network of pipes to the treatment plants, said Brown. The authority maintains about 1,300 miles of sewer lines in Clayton.

Competition for the awards was stiff, said Brown.

"The Authority competed against other award-winning systems within metro Atlanta and the state for both awards," she said. "Competition continues to be very tight for these prestigious industry awards, which signifies validation from fellow water professionals.

To qualify for the collection award, a committee from the Georgia Association of Water Professionals toured and inspected Clayton County's collection system. The evaluation of the system included poring over hundreds of pages of documentation and surveying specific areas, such as employee certifications, management information systems, sanitary sewer overflow notifications, fats, oils and grease programs, pump-and-lift stations maintenance, customer relations, safety, and employee training.

For the lab award, all eligible water and wastewater labs undergo a four-hour inspection of documents and paperwork. Inspectors look at the labs’ Quality Assurance Manual and bench sheets. The documentation illustrates how the lab data are generated and how quality assurance and quality control are implemented from the manual.

"Another key component is the lab's organization, cleanliness and the safety of the lab," said Brown. "Inspectors also look at the chemical storage, reagent storage and sample storage procedures, and if the lab is implementing safety procedures that are detailed in their chemical hygiene plan."

Inspectors also review competency tests that lab analysts must pass each year. Those tests are reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, she said.