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    S&P UPGRADES PCWASA BONDS TO AA+

    Sep 12, 2016 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings has raised its issuer credit rating (ICR) on the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) from “AA-“ to “AA+” while noting that the future financial outlook of the utility is stable.

    This upgrade in the PCWASA bond rating reflects what S&P calls a combination of an “extremely strong enterprise risk profile and a very strong financial risk profile.” The upgrade also reflects the S&P’s opinion that PCWASA has very strong economic and financial metrics, when applied to the S&P revised criteria for utility bond ratings referred to as the “Rating Methodology and Assumptions for U.S. Municipal Waterworks and Sanitary Sewer Utility Revenue Bonds,” published earlier this year.

    According to Primary Credit Analyst Scott Withrow, this upgrade in PCWASA’s overall credit rating reflects S&P’s opinion of the Authority’s overall financial capacity, or creditworthiness, to pay its financial obligations.

    S&P concluded that PCWASA has a very strong enterprise risk profile because of four factors. First, the utility’s service area is broad and diverse, and second, the Authority has very low industry risk because it’s a provider of an essential public utility. Third, the utility has affordable service rates in the context of the service area’s income levels, and finally, PCWASA benefits from good operational management practices and policies.

    The very strong financial risk profile of PCWASA, according to S&P analysts, is attributed to four characteristics of the PCWASA system.

    First, PCWASA has extremely strong historical all-in coverage metrics that are expected to continue in the future, and second, the Authority also has a very strong liquidity position. Third, PCWASA has a moderately high debt-to-capitalization ratio of about 58 percent, with no additional debt plans in the future, and finally, the Authority benefits from good financial management practices and policies.

    “In our opinion, the utility’s overall financial position is sound, characterized by strong coverage and liquidity metrics,” says Withrow. “System liquidity has remained stable and very strong.”

    Although the Authority’s unrestricted cash reserves are used to fund ongoing capital improvements to the PCWASA sewer system for better delivery of services to the utility’s customers, S&P noted that PCWASA is expected to maintain reserves at levels that are considered very strong in the near future, even when paying for capital projects with cash flow rather than taking on additional debt.

    “We are extremely excited to receive this upgrade in our bond rating,” says Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager. “We’ve come a long way over the course of the past several years, working hard to improve services while operating in a fiscally responsible manner. Our Board has provided great leadership and oversight, which has equipped our Staff with the resources to warrant this most recent favorable bond rating.”

    Media contact:
    Chris Wood, Ph.D.
    770-757-1681 (phone)
    jcwood@uga.edu or chris@jwapr.com (email)

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    STARR’S MILL SENIOR LEARNING AS PCWASA INTERN

    Dec 11, 2015 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Starr’s Mill Senior John Adams is working at PCWASA as an intern this school year as a part of the Georgia Work-Based Learning Program.

    The future of civil engineering is bright, if the most recent intern to work at the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) is any indication.

    This school year, PCWASA welcomed Starr’s Mill Senior John Adams to its workforce as a high school intern eager to learn about building infrastructure to support quality growth and quality of life in the community.

    Adams comes to PCWASA through the utility’s partnership with Starr’s Mill High School and the extremely effective Georgia Work-Based Learning Program. His love for civil engineering started at home and grew through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curricula he took at Starr’s Mill.

    “About three years ago, I began working with my dad to help him fix up houses and that sparked my interest in civil engineering,” says the younger Adams, who has been accepted to Mississippi State University, where he will begin his college studies in civil engineering this fall.

    John’s father Glenn is President and Owner of Property Magic, LLC, which analyzes distressed properties for investment and rehabilitation.

    While interning at PCWASA during the first semester this school year, John rotated every two weeks to different areas of the utility, including administration, system operations, construction and maintenance in the field, wastewater treatment at the plants, and more. This semester, he is working with one of the Authority’s consulting engineering firms, gathering even more specific insights in civil engineering as it applies to the water/sewer industry.

    The staff at Integrated Science & Engineering, Inc. in Newnan, especially Senior Project Manager Cary R. Dial, has joined PCWASA in taking John out into the field to provide him with salient work experience. The aspiring civil engineer from Starr’s Mill has assisted the Authority and its consulting engineers by inspecting sewer pipes in the Wynnmeade community, reviewing the pipe lining process for sewer line rehabilitation, calculating distances for service lines to tap into the PCWASA system, and much more.

    “I really like it, because I’m learning what would otherwise take three or four years of school to learn,” says Adams, when describing his time at PCWASA and Integrated Science & Engineering. “It’s fun because I’m not just sitting at a desk; I’m out in the field working with really knowledgeable and nice people.”

    Media contact:
    Chris Wood, Ph.D.
    770-757-1681 (phone)
    jcwood@uga.edu OR chris@jwapr.com

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    PCWASA RECOGNIZED FOR 25 YEARS OF SERVICE

    Nov 5, 2012 by Dr. Chris Wood

    Jack Dozier (right), Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals, presents a proclamation to PCWASA Chairman Mike Harman (left) and General Manager Stephen Hogan (center), recognizing the Authority for 25 years of service.

    The work of the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA), its board and staff, received high praise from the state’s leading industry association during the utility’s 25th Anniversary celebration, held recently to coincide with an open house at the Authority’s headquarters and Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant.

    Executive Director Jack Dozier and Deputy Director Pam Burnett, of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP), were featured guests at the PCWASA anniversary luncheon, presenting a proclamation to the utility’s board and staff for 25 years of service to Peachtree City and the water/wastewater industry. During the presentation of the proclamation, Dozier noted that PCWASA has supported the health and economy of the Peachtree City community by providing efficient and cost-effective wastewater management facilities to serve the public and to protect the environment.

    “Most people in our country take for granted the availability of safe drinking water and wastewater services, but approximately 2 million deaths occur annually across the world as a result of unsafe or unattainable water or wastewater services,” says Dozier. “(PCWASA) does an outstanding job in sewer collection and treatment, so your customers don’t have to worry about the quality of your system. This (PCWASA) staff is recognized by fellow professionals as being among the best in the state.”

    As noted in the proclamation, Dozier praised PCWASA for providing professional services in five specific areas that warranted acclaim: (1) Environmental stewardship through superior practices of wastewater treatment, reuse, and recycling; (2) Fiscally sound operations through economic ups and downs; (3) Continuous enhancement of services, facilities, and performance; (4) Leadership in public education and use of technology; and (5) Exemplary cooperation with other water management agencies.

    In addition to hosting an employee luncheon to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of PCWASA, the utility also opened its doors to an open house at its headquarters and Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Facility, located at 1127 Highway 74 South in Peachtree City. Customers attending the open house were able to tour the Rockaway Plant, meet the Authority’s staff, and learn more about the Authority’s projects and processes that are being advanced on their behalf, to improve the PCWASA system.

    Among the vendors participating in the Authority’s 25th Anniversary open house were professionals from RedZone Robotics, who demonstrated the use of the Solo robot to inspect the Authority’s sewer lines, manholes, and collection system. In addition, officials from AGL Energy Services were on hand to explain how biosolids are removed and recycled following the wastewater treatment processes at PCWASA, prior to being packaged and marketed to customers as Class A (pathogen-free and safe for public use) biosolids that are ideal for use as a soil amendment of fertilizer for yards or gardens. Finally, PCWASA contractors at Brent Scarbrough & Company and Ca-Jenn provided a cured-in-place pipe lining demonstration.

    “We were very excited and pleased by the turnout and level of participation from the public, our customers, our employees and board, as well as vendors and fellow water industry professionals, during our anniversary event,” says Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager. “This was a significant milestone in the history of the Authority, and we wanted to recognize how far we’ve come as a utility in 25 years.”

    PCWASA was originally created as the “Peachtree City Water, Sewerage, and Recreational Authority” in 1973 by an Act of the Georgia General Assembly. However, today the Authority operates according to the revised enabling legislation that went into effect on March 31, 1987, following the passage of House Bill 1132, Act 411, which established PCWASA as a legal, public corporation of the state.

    Media contact:
    Chris Wood, Ph.D.
    770-757-1681 (phone)
    jcwood@uga.edu OR chris@jwapr.com (email)

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