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    GEORGIA MODEL WATER TOWER COMPETITION COMES TO FAYETTE

    Nov 6, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    (R to L): Booth Middle School students Joe Metzler and Jack Hemenway are all smiles during the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition, admiring their project that won First Place, with the help of teammates Audra O’Clair and Neerali Patel (not pictured).

    The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) and the Fayette County Water System provided judges and professional advisors during the Fayette County division of the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition. The Fayette Competition, which was held Oct. 26 at J.C. Booth Middle School, featured nearly 100 eighth grade students competing from Booth and Bennett’s Mill Middle Schools.

    After taking the necessary time to review and tally the scores from all of the water tower submittals, judges from the water profession, including those from PCWASA and Fayette Water, have declared the following winners of the 2017 Model Water Tower Competition in Fayette:

    • 1st place ($300 prize) – Team “Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies” from Booth Middle School – Jack Hemenway, Joseph Metzler Concepcion, Audra O’Clair, and Neerali Patel.

    • 2nd place ($200 prize) – Team “Overconfident” from Booth Middle School – Nicholas Della Torre, Reilly McKenna, Jessica Arinder, and Armaan Jabrani.

    • 3rd place ($100 prize) – Team “Beyond Infinity” from Booth Middle School – Rylan Christen, Sean Cooper, Emma McLaughlin, and Carmella Niedzwiecki.

    • Best Engineering Design – Team “Little Monsters” from Bennett’s Mill Elementary – Kennedy Phillips and Michelle Ukiwe.

    • Most Artistic Design – Team “Overconfident” from Booth Middle School, who also won 2nd place overall.

    • Structural Excellence – Team “Ompalompahs” from Booth Middle School – Max Roggermeier, Campbell Cox, Neerja Patel, and Emi Elrod.

    • Judge’s Choice Award for Presentation – Team “H2O My Goodness” from Booth Middle School – Isabel Finerty, Jordan Whiteman, Chloe Reaves, and Quinn Fitzhenry.

    • Cost Effectiveness Award – Team “Halloween Teens” from Booth Middle School – Rusna Sangha, Ariel Faulise, Lance Muller, and Owen Doyal.

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition is organized by the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) and the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA), with the following mission: “From today’s youth come tomorrow’s leaders, so let’s lead some to the water profession.”

    The 2017 Georgia Model Water Tower Competition features seven county/regional events held during the months of October and November, including contests in Carrolton, Cobb County, Griffin, Henry County, Fulton County, and Augusta, in addition to Fayette County.

    Bill Holland, PCWASA Chairman of the Board, served as a judge for the Fayette County Competition, while Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager, served as an advisor to the students. Joseph Spann, with Fayette Water System, is this year’s Chairman of the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition, following in the footsteps of Keisha Lisbon Thorpe, past chair of the event, who is a former Division Manager at PCWASA.

    The teachers of those students taking part in the Fayette County Competition note that this event is ideal for reinforcing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curricula by providing opportunities for experiential learning.

    “This is a great experience for my students, and their eyes light up when they see all of the different projects in the competition,” says Susan Hall, Engineering and Technology teacher at Bennett’s Mill Middle School. “They’ll never approach a project the same way again, because they learn how they can do things differently, even better, since they didn’t have a lot of design experience before this. I can tell my kids have already won, just by seeing that look in their eye.”

    The quality of the Competition, and the time invested by water professionals to assure its success, did not go unnoticed to those local educators, either.

    “It’s really neat how this many water professionals from the industry are willing to work with the kids,” says Jason Bingel, STEM Technology teacher at J.C. Booth Middle School. “Before the competition, we had engineers come speak to my students about the event as well, so we’re learning about this profession and how the industry works.”

    Dr. Kathleen Lanham, STEM Coordinator for Booth Middle School, makes it a point to promote the event among her seventh-grade students, since they’ll be participants next year.
    “Kids love being able to design and build things,” she says. “This competition allows them to be innovative.”

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition requires participants to design and build water towers with specific size and height requirements. The student towers are judged based on three criteria – structural efficiency, hydraulic efficiency, and design ingenuity. The model water towers must be creatively designed and built using everyday recycled household items.

    Photos from this year’s Fayette County Competition are available among the photo galleries on this website (www.pcwasa.org), using the “Learn More” link below.

    Media contact:
    Chris Wood, Ph.D.
    Phone: 770-757-1681
    Email: chris@jwapr.com

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    PCWASA DIVISION MANAGER HONORED FOR SERVICE

    Jul 21, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Keisha Lisbon Thorpe (center), PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, received the Georgia Association of Water Professionals Alva T. Storey Award for her service to the profession.

    During the Annual Conference of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) this summer, Keisha Lisbon Thorpe, PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, received the coveted Alva T. Storey Award for industry service.

    The purpose of this Award is to recognize a person for years of outstanding service related to activities in support of GAWP. The award honors a water professional who has provided a level of service above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifying the essence of GAWP success.

    The Alva T. Storey Award reflects Keisha’s voluntary service in the form of GAWP leadership and administration, membership recruitment, technical contributions, training and encouragement of other water professionals, as well as support and advocacy for the Association and profession.

    Media contact:
    Chris Wood, Ph.D.
    Phone: 770-757-1681
    Email: jcwood@uga.edu or chris@jwapr.com

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    STUDENTS EXCEL AT FAYETTE COUNTY GEORGIA MODEL WATER TOWER COMPETITION

    Nov 9, 2016 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    (L to R): Austin Carmichael, Madeline Nolen, and Emily Eisele show off their winning science project during the 2016 Fayette County Middle School Georgia Model Water Tower Competition. Not pictured: teammate Sarah Waymon.

    Want to get middle school students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)? Ask them to build a model water tower and add a little friendly competition among classmates to the assignment.

    That’s exactly what took place at J.C. Booth Middle School during the first Georgia Model Water Tower Competition among Fayette County Schools. The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) and Fayette County Water System (FCWS) sponsored the 2016 Competition, which is organized by the state’s two leading water industry trade organizations – the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) and the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA).

    The overall first place winner of this year’s Fayette County Georgia Model Water Tower Competition was the Booth Middle School team of Emily Eisele, Austin Carmichael, Madeline Nolen, and Sarah Waymon. This team, taking on the name of the “Argggange Juice Party Boat,” designed and constructed a functioning model water tower that garnered them a $300 first place prize.

    The second place winner of $200 in prize money was the three-person team of Liam Bourque, Eric Habicht, and Cole Sanford, while third place and $100 in winnings went to the duo of Olivia Quern and Esther Ofielu, who also won the award for Outstanding Presentation/Judge’s Choice. Both the second and third place teams represented Booth Middle School.

    Other awards from the 2016 Fayette County Middle School Georgia Model Water Tower Competition included Outstanding Achievement in Artistic Design, which went to Kortney Avery and Jayna Davis from Flat Rock Middle School. The Award for Structural Excellence went to the Booth Middle School team of Jaron Rosenberg, Natalie Frances, Hannah Moore, and Evelyn Gray.

    Finally, two awards were given for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Design. The Booth Middle School teams of Raaga Bramhadevi, Priyam Kadakia, Sarah Kilgore, and Adelaide Barrett took home one of these awards, with the team of Rebecca Muh, Natalie Robinson, Elizabeth King, and Kennedi Malone winning the other.

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition, which is in its fifth year, challenges middle school students to design and build water towers with specific size and height requirements. This is the first year an event affiliated with the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition was held in Fayette County, featuring students exclusively from Fayette County Schools.

    Dr. Kathleen Lanman, STEM and Gifted Science Faculty Member at J.C. Booth Middle School, was instrumental in bringing the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition to Fayette County. After seeing news of PCWASA’s involvement in this event on the Authority’s website, Dr. Lanman contacted PCWASA Division Manager Keisha Lisbon-Thorpe to inquire about how to get her students involved. This year’s event was the first of more to come for Fayette County Schools, she hopes.

    “This is a great event because it highlights STEM curricula by giving students a real-world, hands-on project that interests them,” says Dr. Lanman. “I think the competition also motivates them to stick with it because there are rewards at stake.”

    Water professionals assisting with the Fayette County Model Water Tower Competition included utility employees, engineers, and other volunteers, such as PCWASA General Manager Stephen Hogan, who served as an advisor to the students, and Lisbon-Thorpe, who is the Past Chair of the Competition Committee. PCWASA Chairman Bill Holland also was on hand to volunteer his professional expertise as the former City Architect for the city of Los Angeles, California. Holland served as a judge and on the panel who reviewed the science projects and selected the winners.

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition requires that students apply what they’ve learned through STEM Curricula – science, technology, engineering and math – in order to complete this science project. The student water tower models are judged based on three criteria, including structural efficiency, hydraulic efficiency, and design ingenuity. Judges also conduct interviews with the students about their entries. The model water towers may be designed and constructed from any materials. However, students are rewarded for using creative designs and innovative resources, such as everyday household items.

    The objective of the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition is to make participants more aware of the importance of reliable drinking water, while introducing them to rewarding (career) opportunities available in the water profession. To do so, the competition requires students to develop an idea into a functioning water tower, just as water professionals do within the industry.

    Media Contact:
    Chris Wood, Ph.D.
    Phone: 770-757-1681
    Email: jcwood@uga.edu or chris@jwapr.com

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    PCWASA AND FAYETTE WATER SYSTEM HOSTING GA MODEL WATER TOWER COMPETITION

    Oct 13, 2016 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) and Fayette Water System are hosting the 2016 Georgia Model Water Tower Competition for Fayette County Schools on Friday, Oct. 21, at J.C. Booth Middle School in Peachtree City. Judging of the student model water towers begins around 9:15 a.m.

    PCWASA and Fayette Water System are supporting this local/regional event to provide an opportunity for Middle School Students from Fayette County Schools to participate in the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition, which requires participants to design and build water towers with specific size and height requirements. This is the first year an event affiliated with the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition is being held in Fayette County, featuring students exclusively from Fayette County Schools.

    Judges for the Fayette County Model Water Tower Competition will consist of professionals from the water industry, engineering firms, and other volunteers. PCWASA Division Manager Keisha Lisbon Thorpe is Past Chairman of the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition Committee, while PCWASA General Manager Stephen Hogan serves as a volunteer advisor for the students.

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition, which was first held in 2012, is organized by the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA) and the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP). This event requires that students apply what they’ve learned through STEM Curricula – science, technology, engineering and math – in order to complete this science project.

    The student water tower models are judged based on three criteria, including structural efficiency, hydraulic efficiency, and design ingenuity. Judges also will conduct interviews with the students about their entries. The model water towers may be designed and constructed from any materials. However, students are rewarded for using creative designs and innovative resources, such as everyday household items.

    The objective of the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition is to make participants more aware of the importance of reliable drinking water, while introducing them to rewarding (career) opportunities available in the water profession. To do so, the competition requires students to develop an idea into a functioning water tower, just as water professionals do within the industry.

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

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    PCWASA WINS STATEWIDE AWARD FOR SYSTEM EXCELLENCE

    Jan 8, 2016 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    GAWP President Bill Zieburtz (right) presents the Collection System Silver Award to (l to r): Chris Crittendon, Division Manager of Collection/Conveyance, Keisha Lisbon Thorpe, Division Manager of Technical Services, and Stephen Hogan, General Manager.

    Just because a utility is small doesn’t mean it’s not good. That is the sentiment of officials from the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA), as the utility operates a system in 2016 that has been rated among the best in Georgia.

    During its yearend Fall Conference in Athens, the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) honored PCWASA with the industry’s Collection System Silver Award, for achieving a score of 94.9 on its annual system evaluation and audit for 2015. Silver Awards recognize sewer systems in the state that have achieved a quantitative score between 90 and 94.9 on an intense peer review by industry judges of all aspects of wastewater collection and conveyance.

    With its score of 94.9, PCWASA was just one-tenth of a point away from the GAWP Gold Award, which was attained by only 10 sewer utilities in the state in 2015. PCWASA competes against much larger municipal systems for this type of statewide recognition, including those with both water and sewer operations. GAWP 2015 Gold Award winners included major metropolitan municipal and county systems such as Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett.

    “Our community and system may be smaller than those who received similar recognition by GAWP, but we are no less committed as a utility to providing excellent sewer services for our customers,” says Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager.

    “We are pleased to have this statewide recognition for operating above the industry standards and excelling in sewer collection and treatment as one of the best systems in Georgia,” adds Hogan.

    Hogan also notes that the 2015 GAWP Collection System Silver Award is the first of this type of industry recognition for PCWASA during its short history as an autonomous public Authority, reflecting what he believes is a utility headed in the right direction with its sights set on improvement and perhaps bringing home the GAWP Gold Award in the future.

    “Our employees are very dedicated water professionals who take their responsibilities seriously, while striving to get better and improve services for our customers every day,” says Hogan.

    “I cannot thank them enough for what they do, and we also are appreciative for our Board of Directors, who provide us with the resources and support to do our jobs at such a high level,” concludes Hogan.

    The GAWP Collection System Awards are based on an overall grade disbursement that includes 15% for the quality of the utility’s Management Program, 40% for the assessment of its Maintenance Program, 20% for the evaluation of Operations, and the remaining 25% for its handling of Capacity.

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

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    PCWASA ENCOURAGING FUTURE WATER PROFESSIONALS

    Aug 28, 2015 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    PCWASA water professionals will assist with the 2015 Georgia Model Water Tower Competition, an event that will be held within four regions around the state this year.

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition continues to grow as a water/sewer industry educational event, in part because of the efforts of water professionals from the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA).

    Keisha Lisbon Thorpe, PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, chairs the event organizing committee, after having been involved in this public outreach initiative since its inception. Lisbon Thorpe also is Chair of the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA), which is organizing the event in cooperation with the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP). PCWASA General Manager Stephen Hogan volunteers during the Competition as a student advisor.

    Their efforts along with those of fellow water professionals have facilitated expanding interest in Model Water Towers among middle school students and their teachers.

    The 2015 statewide event will feature schools participating at four regional locations. The PCWASA staff will be organizing the competition on Oct. 23rd at Woodland Middle School in Henry County. Other school systems serving as regional sites for this year’s Georgia Model Water Tower Competition include Cobb-Marietta, DeKalb, and Griffin-Spalding County.

    The Model Water Tower Competition is designed to provide information to youth about water resource engineering, infrastructure, water treatment and water conservation, all in hopes that some participating students may become future water professionals. In the meantime, the event reinforces STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education, which is being stressed by the U.S. Department of Education, through state and local educators, for public school curricula.

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

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    DIVISION MANAGER TO LEAD STATE TRADE ASSOCIATION

    Jul 24, 2015 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Keisha Lisbon Thorpe (front/left), PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, has been selected to Chair the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA) this year.

    The Division Manager of Technical Services at Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) has been selected by her peers to lead the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA), one of the highest ranking volunteer positions within the state’s water and wastewater industry.

    As Chair of the GAWWA, Keisha Lisbon Thorpe, P.E., will be instrumental in leading this group of professionals dedicated to providing resources for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in Georgia.

    GAWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the entire water community. GAWWA works cooperatively with the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) to achieve these goals and strengthen public confidence in drinking water.

    Lisbon Thorpe has been active in GAWWA for approximately 15 years, in addition to her membership in GAWP. She has chaired the joint GAWWAGAWP state Model Water Tower Competition since its inception three years ago, in addition to past experience chairing the GAWWA Diversity Committee. This year she also was among the GAWP Level 1 Leadership Academy Graduates. Lisbon Thorpe will celebrate her 10th anniversary with PCWASA this October.

    As PCWASA Technical Services Division Manager, Lisbon Thorpe plans, organizes, and directs the technical services and engineering functions of the Authority, including the management and development of annual budgets and the implementation of capital projects, construction services, utility locates, and filming of sewer lines. She also provides oversight of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the fats, oils, and grease (FOG) program, and information technology (IT) at the Authority.

    “Keisha personifies the talent, expertise, and professionalism of our staff at the Authority, and we are lucky to have someone with her credentials and character as a Division Manager,” says Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager. “She is well respected within our industry and a significant asset to our community as well as the state.”

    Prior to joining PCWASA in 2005, Lisbon Thorpe was a Civil Engineer/Supervisor for the City of Atlanta Bureau of Water, following her tenure as a Process Control Engineer for United Water Services of Atlanta.

    As for professional credentials, she is a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in the State of Georgia as well as a Class I Water Supply System Operator, which is the highest ranking certification for treatment plant operators in the state. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina A&T and has a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida.

    Lisbon Thorpe’s academic research has been published in the Journal of Environmental Engineering, and she has been a keynote speaker on various industry topics for a number of organizations, including the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), and at GAWP District Meetings and Conferences.

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

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    PCWASA AN ORGANIZER OF GA MODEL WATER TOWER COMPETITION

    Nov 16, 2015 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    PCWASA General Manager Stephen Hogan (left) and Division Manager Keisha Lisbon Thorpe (right) congratulate Jasmin Palacios (center) as the winner of the 2015 Georgia Model Water Tower Competition regional event held at Woodland Middle School.

    What better resource to help students with a science project to build a model water tower than the water professionals with experience constructing and operating these structures in real life?

    Volunteers from the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) helped organize and execute the fourth annual Georgia Model Water Tower Competition this year, overseeing the regional competition held at Woodland Middle School on Oct. 23. In doing so, the water professionals from PCWASA had an opportunity to encourage participating middle school students that the water industry could provide them with rewarding careers in the future.

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition requires middle school students to design and build a water tower with specific size and height requirements, while learning more about the value of water and the industry. Students could enter as individuals, in tandem or within a four-person team.

    The overall winner of the 2015 competition from the south metro region was Woodland Middle School’s Jasmin Palacios, followed in second place by Austin Road’s Jessica Grimes, who was last year’s winner, with third place going to the Woodland Middle School tandem of Jessie Elliott and Erin Maiolo.

    Additional awards went to Ryan Grimes from Austin Road for Artistic Design, Nikki Davis and Jhendiya Hall from Austin Road for Engineering Excellence, and Jessie Elliott and Erin Maiolo from Woodland Middle School for Structural Efficiency.

    The student model water towers are judged based on three criteria – structural efficiency, hydraulic efficiency, and design ingenuity. In addition, judges conduct interviews with the students to assess their understanding of the engineering and construction process of building a model water tower. The model water towers may be designed and constructed from any materials. However, students are rewarded for using creative designs and innovative materials, such as everyday household items.

    The Georgia Model Water Tower Competition, which was first held in 2012, is hosted by the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA) and the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP).

    The learning objective of the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition is to make participants more aware of the importance of reliable drinking water, while introducing them to rewarding (career) opportunities available in the water profession. To do so, the competition requires students to develop an idea into a functioning water tower, just as water professionals do within the industry.

    The additional benefit of the competition is it engages students in hands-on learning of STEM curricula – science, technology, engineering, and math – which are emphasized by Georgia educators and school administrations.

    Check out the “Learn More” link below for photos from the 2015 Georgia Model Water Tower Competition.

    Media Contact:
    Chris Wood, Ph.D.
    770-757-1681 (phone)
    jcwood@uga.edu (email)

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    PCWASA RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

    Nov 24, 2014 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Keisha Lisbon Thorpe (left), PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, and Stephen Hogan (right), PCWASA General Manager, accept two Public Education Program Awards from the Georgia Association of Water Professionals.

    The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) has been committed to educating the public on important issues for years, and the industry is taking notice.

    During its recent Fall Conference in Dalton, the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) recognized PCWASA for outstanding achievement in public education. The Authority brought home two coveted Public Education industry awards for Best New Media and Best Direct Media, honors received due to the emphasis in public education and outreach through its website and customer newsletter, respectively.

    “As a member of GAWP, I can attest that these industry awards are not easy to win,” remarked Frank Destadio during the PCWASA November meeting, when the awards were announced. “The Authority should be commended for these accomplishments.” Destadio was in attendance at the meeting due to his role on the Peachtree City Planning Commission. He is an engineer by profession as well for CH2M Hill.

    The GAWP Public Education Award for Best New Media judges water and sewer utility websites, social media platforms, blogs, etc. according to the amount of public information addressing key issues that impact the public, especially the utility’s customers. The PCWASA website – at www.pcwasa.org – features news and information on relevant topics such as the Authority’s waste water reuse and the proper disposal of household fats, oils, and grease (FOG), among others.

    The Best Direct Media GAWP Public Education Award recognizes the utility with the best newsletter, billing insert, brochure or other collateral material, which likewise provides key educational messages for target audiences.

    PCWASA’s customer newsletter – The Pipeline – is published at least twice each year and distributed to customers through a billing insert. Fayette Water System, which handles customer billing for PCWASA, inserts the Authority’s newsletter at no additional cost for postage or handling, since the weight of the publication does not cause the entire customer bill to exceed one ounce.

    “Educating the public about issues that are important to them – and which impact our system and operations – is critically important,” says Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager. “We choose to be proactive in informing our customers, especially, because we want them to be more knowledgeable about what it is that we do in the community, and what they can do to help us.”

    As an example, Hogan notes that something as simple as customer compliance in properly disposing of household grease can save the utility thousands of dollars in system maintenance and potential fines from regulatory agencies, which can occur with sewer spills and overflows caused by sewer lines clogged with grease.

    The GAWP Public Education Awards are expected to be presented by officials from the professional association to the PCWASA Board during the Authority’s December meeting.

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

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    PCWASA HELPS ORGANIZE GEORGIA MODEL WATER TOWER COMPETITION

    Oct 27, 2014 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Keisha Lisbon-Thorpe (right), PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, co-chairs the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition Committee, in addition to serving as a Vice Chair of the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association.

    The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) continued its role as a utility involved in public outreach with its support of the 2014 Georgia Model Water Tower Competition. Authority employees helped organize this statewide engineering challenge for students, held last month at Woodland Middle School in Stockbridge.

    This Competition is hosted by the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association (GAWWA) and the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP). The annual event challenged local students to design and build a water tower with specific size and height requirements, which were judged by Pam Burnett, Executive Director of GAWP, Kelly Comstock, Chair of GAWWA, and Karl Nelson, Georgia Service Center Manager with Utility Service Group – a water tank professional.

    Keisha Lisbon-Thorpe, PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, is Co-Chair of the event, while also serving as Vice Chair of GAWWA. Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager, volunteers each year as an advisor for the student competitors.

    “This competition allows us to introduce local students to the nature of the water and sewer industry, including the importance of treatment processes and the proper design and operation of infrastructure,” says Lisbon-Thorpe. “A properly constructed water tower serves as an ideal project to represent the type of engineering challenge water professionals face every day.”

    The water tower models were judged based on three criteria, including structural efficiency, hydraulic efficiency, and design ingenuity. In addition, judges conducted interviews with the students to inquire about the specifics of their model water tower construction projects. Jessica Grimes of Austin Road Middle School was the overall winner of this year’s event, as a result of her submitting an artistic and operational “minion” water tower.

    “This is a great opportunity for the kids, especially the girls, because they usually don’t get exposed to engineering to think of it as a career choice,” says Elizabeth Davenport, sixth grade science teacher and organizer of the Model Water Tower Competition at Woodland Middle School, the host site of the event. Davenport says students learn more about the water industry, too, where jobs are readily available for qualified professionals.

    “This is an awesome program and the kids love it and get excited about it,” she adds. “We have more kids apply for the event than we have spaces available.”

    Davenport points out that the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition addresses all four components of STEM education – science, technology, engineering, and math – curricula being emphasized by public educators on the federal, state, and local levels. Students also don’t have to be enrolled in advanced placement (AP) courses to participate in the event, she adds.

    To enter the statewide competition, students must design and construct model water towers from various household items, but are rewarded for using creative designs and innovative materials.
    The objective of the Georgia Model Water Tower Competition is to make participants more aware of the importance of reliable drinking water, while introducing them to rewarding (career) opportunities available in the water profession. To do so, the competition requires students to develop an idea into a functioning water tower, just as water professionals do within the industry.

    Austin Road Middle School faculty member Brigitte Warde sees the potential growth of the event due to its increased popularity among students.

    “We’re hoping to make science cool for students, and this event has the potential to do that while getting even bigger in the future,” she says.

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

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