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Five Georgia Utilities—Including One in Buford—Recognized for Outstanding Water Quality Achievement

Release Date: 12/15/2008
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – December 15, 2008) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center (WRC) in Buford, Ga., with a 2008 Regional Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award during a ceremony at the EPA’s Atlanta office. WRC is one of six facilities recognized in the Southeast and one of 24 winners nationally in the 2008 National Clean Water Act Recognition Awards competition.

“EPA is proud to recognize the municipalities that go far beyond the minimum requirements needed to meet the Clean Water Act,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Jimmy Palmer.

The F. Wayne Water Resources Center won first-place regionally and tied for first-place nationally for its operations and maintenance in the large advanced plant subcategory. WRC’s pioneering automation system has cut costs, increased environmental stability and bested the parameters set by their permit. WRC has stringent discharge limitations and uses automation to help meet those parameters. Because of this, the facility has not violated its limits since 2001. WRC has also removed 99 percent of the organic material from wastewater that passes through the facility. To reduce energy needs, gas from the break down of waste material is burned to produce heat, and a portion of the wastewater received during the day is stored and treated at night, when electrical costs are lower.

The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center was built at the WRC to promote pollution prevention and serve as an educational resource for the community. The center sports a green roof as well as pervious paving and wetlands to better manage stormwater runoff. The grounds are irrigated with reclaimed water and the bathrooms are outfitted with low-flow toilets. The facility uses sunlight to cut energy costs.

EPA’s Regional and National Clean Water Act Recognition Awards showcase communities with outstanding operations and maintenance programs or practices at their wastewater treatment facilities. The award evaluation criteria considers permit compliance, field monitoring, process control, pollution prevention, laboratory and financial management, equipment maintenance and other key operating requirements. Award nominees are recognized in nine operations and maintenance categories based on each facility’s treatment level and flow capacity.

The EPA recognized 24 organizations across the country this year for demonstrating outstanding water quality achievements for projects and programs in five award categories: operations and maintenance, exemplary biosolids management, implementation and enforcement of local pretreatment programs, cost-effective stormwater controls, and combined sewer overflow controls.

The EPA-sponsored awards program is in its 23rd year, and recognizes wastewater treatment facilities and their contributions to protecting the public’s health and safety and the nation’s water quality.

For a complete list of the winners, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owm/mtb/intnet.htm