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Five Georgia Utilities—Including One in Vidalia—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 Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Vidalia, Ga., with a 2008 Regional Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award during a ceremony at the EPA’s Atlanta office. WWTP 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.

WWTP received first-place regionally and nationally for its operations and maintenance in the medium non-discharging plant subcategory. The facility was recognized for its excellent performance standards, effective process control and high level of employee training. Computerized systems and the use of advanced software help ensure timely maintenance and identify operational problems in order to correct them. WWTP applies treated effluent to 505 acres of pine trees and uses comprehensive controls to avoid negative environmental impacts. For example, WWTP uses continuous field monitoring of spray heads on its land application equipment and adjusts spray direction and intensity to prevent pooling and runoff.

Every WWTP employee is certified in both water and wastewater treatment, and receives training in basic plant maintenance. Safety trainings are also offered on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. The training and safety programs have been successful, as evidenced by the fact that there have been no plan accidents in over five years.

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