WARNER ROBINS -- When Grady Trussell Jr. started working for the Houston County water system 36 years ago, it served about 3,500 people and had no lab.
Today, the system serves nearly 69,000 people and the water is tested in a high-tech lab. The system is regularly recognized by the Georgia Association of Water Professionals as one of the best in the state.
The system is actually four separate systems: Feagin Mill, Elko, Haynesville and Henderson. At the County Commission meeting July 2, a representative of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals presented the county with Plant of the Year honors for the Feagin Mill and Elko systems in their size categories.
It marked 40 awards overall and 22 Plant of the Year honors for Houston County, said Trussell, the plant manager for the four systems.
He said the awards are based on objective criteria, and a system must score 90 or higher in each area to be eligible. It cannot apply for an award if it has even one water or safety violation.
Trussell said the county doesnt apply for the awards just to have plaques on the wall. The association spends three days in the county reviewing the systems, and he said it has helped the county improve its operations.
I think it keeps you in that top 5 percent in the state, he said.
The majority of county customers are served by the Feagin Mill system. The other three are very small.
The water is pumped out of deep wells and requires little treatment. Most of the treatment is intended to protect it from contamination as it moves through the pipe system to the homes. Lab technician John Bell said the county takes water samples at 70 homes each month to test for contaminants.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.