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  • Water Operator of the Year
  • Wastewater Operator of the Year
  • Board Member/Director/General Manager of the Year
  • Office Worker of the Year
  • John A. Garrett Out standing Service Award

 

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ARWA 2018 Awards of Excellence

By George Marodis, USDA FSA Source Water Specialist

 

William Snyder, General Manager of the Monroeville Water Works is the Master of Ceremonies at the 40th Annual Awards Luncheon William Snyder, General Manager of the Monroeville Water Works served as Master of Ceremonies at the 40th Annual Awards Luncheon

The Awards Ceremony is conducted to recognize the Iindividuals that Manage and Operate Alabama's Public Water Utilities so efficiently that everyone expects clean water to flow from the tap every time it is turned on. These individuals or professionals include Board Members, Managers and Superintendents, Water Operators, Wastewater Operators, Meter Readers, Water Clerks, Billing Clerks and Office Staff.

These water professionals work behind the scenes checking wells and surface intakes, checking chlorine residuals, finding and fixing leaks at all hours of the night, replacing critical components, completing well reports, collecting BAC-T samples, preparing MOR's, CCR's, DMR's etc. The net result is that for most of us, every time we turn on the tap we are rewarded with the delivery of safe, clean drinking water.

While we tend to focus on the water side, let's not forget the professionals on the wastewater side of the equation, working diligently at the plant, accepting inflow into the wastewater treatment plants which is then treated in a manner that results in an environmentally safe effluent that is discharged back into the environment.

A professional can be characterized as one that makes a complicated task look easy, that's what Alabama's Water Professionals do! It's why some people say water is so plentiful, it should be free!! If they could look behind the scenes at the hard work that is involved in producing that water, I think they would realize the true value of that water.

It is those water professionals that the Alabama Rural Water Association recognized during its 40th Annual Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

The following classifications were recognized at ARWA's 40th Annual Awards Ceremony:

  • GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
  • WATER OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
  • WASTEWATER OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
  • BOARD MEMBER/DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

 

GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Kathy Horne, Executive Director ARWA, 
Robin East, General Manager, Walnut Hill Water Authority.
Kathy Horne, Executive Director ARWA,
Robin East, General Manager, Walnut Hill Water Authority.

This award recognizes a State of Alabama General Manager with outstanding leadership abilities and accomplishments in Water Utility Management.

The winner of the 2018 General Manager of the Year is Robin East, with the Walnut Hill Water Authority.

General Managers are world-class multi-taskers, overseeing a variety of functions, from developing operational plans and budgets to reviewing Monthly Profit and Loss statements. The General Manager is always thinking about creative ways to increase Water and Wastewater revenue by effectively managing the system's personnel and by setting goals which are both attainable and profitable. The General Manager is responsible for hiring, training, and evaluating the employees of the water system. It's his job to keep morale high and he is responsible for dealing with the many issues that arise from the Board of Directors, the Mayor and Council, and the employees, not to mention the end user, the customers.

For Robin, 2017 was a year of great challenges for his water system! The Walnut Hill Water Authority experienced a resurgent growth in customer connections and an increased interest in development around the system. While this type of growth, is positive, it has its challenges. Robin developed and published a concise set of standard specifications and drawings specific for his system that was utilized by developers as the system improvements were in the planning stages.

He secured land for the construction of a new office complex which should be completed later in 2018. This new office building will incorporate such features as a
drive-up window, handicap accessibility, file storage room and a larger board room, just to name a few!

By undergoing a full system meter change out in 2016, his water authority has seen a reduction in water loss, an increase in water sales and a growth in operating revenue. He has also developed a demand-based water usage system through SCADA
operation and the addition of variable frequency drives on all pumps in the system.

Over the last three years, under his leadership, the Walnut Hill Water Authority has gone from financial hardship to a prospering and growing utility.

Congratulations to Robin East, General Manager of the Walnut Hill Water Authority!

 

WATER OPERATOR OF THE YEAR

Kathy Horne, Executive Director ARWA, Melissa Morris, Water Operator, City of Elba Water Department
Kathy Horne, Executive Director ARWA, Melissa Morris, Water Operator, City of Elba Water Department

This award recognizes a State of Alabama Certified Water Treatment Operator with outstanding leadership abilities and accomplishments in Water Utility Operations.

The winner of the 2018 Water Operator of the Year is Melissa Morris, with the City of Elba Water Department.

Melissa Morris is a Grade 2 Certified Water Operator and has a Grade I Waste Water Operator license.

She has continuously shown commitment, ingenuity, and knowledge in the execution of her job during her 12 years tenure with her system.

She is always instituting new ideas or new operational methods in her day to day operations to help the system and build stronger relationships with the customers. Melissa works any hours necessary to insure that the system is run efficiently and she has been known to give a customer her personal cell number so she could help the customer at any time of the day or night!

Melissa is responsible for the maintenance and care of 60 miles of distribution lines, for wells, a 2 cell 20-acre lagoon and 44 lift stations in addition to being responsible to over 2,000 water customers. She is always thinking outside the box to come up with solutions and improvements for her system.

Her colleagues say that Melissa is an employee that exhibits great motivation, dedication, trustworthiness, talent, and self-discipline.

Congratulations Melissa Morris, Water Operator of the Year!

 

WASTEWATER OPERATOR OF THE YEAR


Tae Hui Flowers, Wastewater Operator of the Year, with Billy Helms, Mayor of Abbeville

This award recognizes a State of Alabama Certified Wastewater Treatment Operator with outstanding leadership abilities and accomplishments in Wastewater Utility Operations.

The winner of the 2018 Wastewater Operator of the Year is Tae Hui Flowers, with the Abbeville Water Works & Sewer Board.

As a Grade 4 Waste Water Operator and a Grade 2 Water Operator, Tae Hui has served many Wastewater and Water Systems with his dual certification over his 23-year career!

He never hesitates to do what is necessary to make sure that any situation is handled in the most professional manner. He is responsible for all aspects of his City's Wastewater system. He develops the annual budget, coordinates with companies for sludge removal, communicates with ADEM and ADECA for emergencies and repairs, inspects and repairs all sewer lines as needed, maintains bacteriological samples, chain of custody reports and sewer flow charts. He is always looking for ways to save money for the system, thereby saving it for his customers.

Tae Hui was instrumental in changing the systems wastewater treatment process from a lagoon to an activated sludge plant using the lagoon as part of the new system. He was also responsible for recently digitizing all sewer lines in his system. Tae Hui exhibits professionalism, pride, and integrity.

Congratulations Tae Hui Flowers, Wastewater Operator of the Year!

 

BOARD MEMBER/DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

Kathy Horne, Executive Director ARWA, 
Michael Burt, Chairman of the Board, Southwest Alabama Water Authority
Kathy Horne, Executive Director ARWA,
Michael Burt, Chairman of the Board, Southwest Alabama Water Authority

This award recognizes an individual who serves as a Board Member responsible for governing decisions resulting in significant contributions toward the success, growth and customer satisfaction of the utility.

The winner of the 2018 Board Member/Director of the Year is Michael Burt, Chairman of the Board of the Southwest Alabama Water Authority.

Michael Burt is an active participant on his Board of Directors as Chairman. The Southwest Alabama Water Authority is a very large rural system providing potable water to customers in 4 counties (Butler, Conecuh, Monroe & Wilcox). Michael works extremely hard maintaining relationships with the local leaders in each of the communities his system serves. These relationships translate into close coordination of resources resulting in more efficient customer service and infrastructure.

Continually working to grow and improve his system, he was instrumental in applying for and receiving approximately $3 million in USDA Rural Development funds for a water system improvement project, a large portion of which were grant funds. He has worked tirelessly over the past several years to make this project happen. He has gone above and beyond his duties as Board Chairman, spending much of his own time (for years) to secure funding for the project, meeting on site with the engineer and contractor to discuss the project, hand delivering documents to various parties to speed up the process, and even calling on property owners to secure option agreements for potential groundwater production well sites.

As the system improvements project has progressed to construction, he spends much of his time on site with the engineer and contractor watching construction. He is eager to learn and sincerely interested in the hydraulic process. He shows interest in the system and the way it works beyond that of a typical Board Chairman.

Other projects which are and have taken place during his tenure as Chairman include:

  • Upgrades to Wells
  • Radio read meters
  • The purchase of much needed tools service trucks and other equipment.

Congratulations Michael Burt, Board Member/Director of the Year!

 

WATER VISION AWARD

L to R: Laura Taylor with the ADEM, Stephen Abel with the Town of Nectar Water Department, Kathy Horne 
with the ARWA
L to R: Laura Taylor with the ADEM, Stephen Abel with the Town of Nectar Water Department, Kathy Horne
with the ARWA

Recognizing Utilities that Excelled in Water Service.

The Vision Award winner for Water was the Town of Nectar Water Department.

The Town of Nectar proposes to replace the existing water filter plant with a new pressure filter plant. The project includes the installation of a new well, chemical feed system, filter building and filters as well as an auxiliary generator. Completion of these improvements will provide for more consistent, reliable water treatment; thus, reducing current operating costs as well as the need to purchase water from neighboring water systems.

 

 

 

 

 

WATER & WASTEWATER VISION AWARDS

Nivory Gordon with USDA, (Project Funding Agency), accepts Vision Award for the Town of Autaugaville from Kathy Horne with ARWA
Nivory Gordon with USDA, (Project Funding Agency), accepts Vision Award for the Town of Autaugaville from Kathy Horne with ARWA

Recognizing Utilities that Excelled in Wastewater Service.

The Vision Award winner for Wastewater Operations was the Town of Autaugaville.

The Town of Autaugaville' s new section of the wastewater treatment plant was installed in 2014 and currently operates at a 75,000 gallon per day capacity. The old section of the treatment plant is well over 20 years old and in desperate need of repair. The galvanized steel grating over the old section of the plant has deteriorated to the point that it is a critical safety issue. The grating is sagging in places and the supports for the grating have rusted away so that it is unsafe for maintenance personnel to in­spect and work on the plant as they need to. There have been several times that the op­erators have actually fallen through the grating and into the sewage. This is extremely dangerous and certainly gives opportunity for bacteria to enter into cuts, scrapes, and bodily orifices. The head works of the treatment plant does not have screens to remove plastics, wood, and other non-biodegradable materials.

This new project consists of retrofitting and constructing an equalization basin from the old portion of the treatment plant; installing debris screens; replacing worn mechanical equipment consisting of effluent pumps, scum pumps, and sludge pumps at the three lift stations; installing baffle walls and air blowers; replacing galvanized steel grating; installing new electrical components and controls and replacing valves and piping. Improvements will also be made to the Lift stations throughout the system and expand to connect an additional 35 residential customers that are on individual treatment systems. These improvements will help meet the demands of residential and economic growth that this small community has been experiencing. Total estimated project cost is approximately $756,000.

 

Overall the 40th Annual ARWA Awards Luncheon was a huge success!

Above, Hundreds fill the Ball Room at the Awards LuncheonAbove, Hundreds fill the Ball Room at the Awards Luncheon

 

4 WHEELER GIVEAWAY

Kathy Horne presents the keys of the Honda Four-Wheeler to Tommy Chambers with the Utility Board of the Town of Blountsville. Congratulations Tommy!
Kathy Horne presents the keys of the Honda Four-Wheeler to Tommy Chambers with the Utility Board of the Town of Blountsville. Congratulations Tommy!

The Awards Ceremony ended with the very popular 4 WHEELER GIVEAWAY

……To be eligible for the 4 wheeler, attendees were preregistered with a paid full registration received by February 24, 2017.

The lucky winner was Tommy Chambers with the Utility Board of the Town of Blountsville.

 

 

 

Read the Waterline Story (pdf)

 

 

 

RECAP OF AWARDS

General Manager of the Year Award
Robin East - Walnut Hill Water Authority

Water Operator of the Year Award
Melissa Morris - City of Elba Water Department

Wastewater Operator of the Year Award
Tae Hui Flowers - Abbeville Water Works & Sewer Board

Board Member/Director of the Year Award
Michael Burt -Southwest Alabama Water Authority, Chairman

 

Water Utility Vision Award
Town of Nectar Water Department

Wastewater Utility Vision Award
Town of Autaugaville

 

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