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    PCWASA ASSISTS FAYETTE SCHOOLS WITH STEAM CURRICULA

    Aug 28, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Susan Lee (center), PCWASA Division Manager of Operations, leads a tour of the Authority’s Rockaway Plant for teachers from Fayette County Public Schools.

    When Fayette County Public Schools opened for business earlier this month, local teachers started the new academic year with fresh ideas on how to make curricula come to life, with the help of the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA).

    Prior to the start of this school year, the Authority hosted approximately 60 teachers for tours of the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Facility, under the direction of Susan Lee, Division Manager of Operations, and Stephen Hogan, General Manager. The Rockaway Plant is adjacent to the Authority headquarters on Highway 74 in Peachtree City and an ideal site for experiential learning for local students.

    Teachers toured the campus of the sequence batch reactor (SBR) plant, which has a permitted wastewater treatment capacity of 4 million gallons per day (MGD). The local educators received insights on the science and processes involved in wastewater treatment on site, in addition to how the Authority provides treated wastewater for irrigation of golf courses and recreational facilities nearby.

    “I think there will be a lot of opportunities for our students to learn more about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) curricula by visiting these (PCWASA) facilities,” says Rae Presley-King, Director of Secondary School Improvement and Professional Learning for Fayette County Public Schools. “By taking teachers on these types of field trips, we make their standards and curricula more relevant. It’s one thing to talk about the curricula, but it’s another to see it in action.”

    According to Virginia Gibbs, Work-Based Learning Coordinator with Fayette County Public Schools, last year Superintendent Jody Barrow proposed an initiative to get teachers out in the community to see applications of their subject matter and to learn more about the business and civic resources at their disposal. As a result, a team led by Mark Henderson, Math Curricula Coordinator with Fayette County Schools, began to schedule coordinated “externships” for teachers to meet local business and community leaders by going onsite to their respective organizations.

    The recent visit by teachers to PCWASA is an example of those externships in action, when teachers have a chance to get a better understanding of local business and industry, in addition to what’s going on professionally in the community and what jobs may be available to Fayette County students in the future.

    “We want to bring teachers together and have them start focusing on how to bring the outside world into the classroom,” says Gibbs. “We have a weeklong summer program of ‘STEAM Tours’ and this (tour of the PCWASA Rockaway Plant) provided a great chance for teachers to see something they’ve never seen before.”

    Gibbs notes that site visits such as the one at PCWASA get teachers going creatively and collaboratively, providing ideas for projects that students can pursue in class.
    “We learned how people benefit every day from these (wastewater treatment) processes, and how this (PCWASA operations) is such a critical piece of our community,” says Gibbs.

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

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    PCWASA CELEBRATING 30TH ANNIVERSARY

    Sep 11, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    The PCWASA and General Manager Stephen Hogan (pictured) are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Authority this year (2017), having been created by Act of the Georgia General Assembly in 1987.

    This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA), in addition to the 20th year the utility has been operating the communitys sewer infrastructure. PCWASA officials have drafted a resolution to commemorate this historical event.

    The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority was created by Act of the Georgia General Assembly on March 31, 1987. Ten years later, on May 29, 1997, the Authority acquired the facilities and infrastructure of the sewer system at that time from Georgia Utilities.

    This purchase by the Authority was made possible by the issuance of revenue bonds. The Authority passed a Series 1997 A bond issue to raise just over $25 million, while another $1.45 million in bonds were sold through a Series 1997 B bond issue.

    An additional bond issue in 2002 garnered another $15 million-plus for PCWASA to invest in the necessary renewal and expansion of sewer system, while bond issues in 2005 and 2013 allowed the Authority to refinance all of its outstanding debt. As a result, the current outstanding principal balance is approximately $25 million.

    Since its founding, the Authority has effectively managed its system to garner a “AA+” bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, a clean audit opinion for 10 consecutive years, and a Collection System Silver Award from the Georgia Association of Water Professionals for attaining a grade of 94.9 on its annual system review by the water industry.

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

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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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    MANHOLE REHAB CONTINUES FOR PCWASA SYSTEM

    Jun 26, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    The PCWASA Board awarded a low bid of $404,380 to Vac Vision Environmental to continue manhole rehabilitation within the Authority’s sewer system.

    With extensive data collected on the condition of PCWASA sewer lines and manholes by RedZone Robotics, the Authority Board has approved the next phase of manhole rehabilitation for the utility’s sewer collection system.

    During its June Board Meeting, the PCWASA Board awarded a low bid of $404,380 to Vac Vision Environmental. Authority engineering consultants from Integrated Science and Engineering (ISE) prepared the drawings and specifications for this project, which involve the rehab or repair of 215 of the remaining 629 manholes in need of maintenance.

    Authority appropriations for this project come from the FY 2017 Renewal & Extension Budget, which consists of ratepayer dollars invested back into the system to improve sewer collection, conveyance and treatment services, for the benefit of PCWASA customers.

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

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    PCWASA GATHERING VALUABLE DATA WITH FLOW MONITORING AND HYDRAULIC MODELING

    Jun 5, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    PCWASA is utilizing flow modeling and hydraulic modeling technology to gather valuable system data to help plan future capital improvements for the benefit of customers.

    To make sure its sewer system is functioning properly in all types of conditions, PCWASA officials are taking a proven approach to monitor and model sewer collection and conveyance. PCWASA is investing $300,000 in sanitary sewer system flow monitoring and hydraulic modeling technology.

    First, the Authority awarded a bid to ADS Environmental Service to perform flow monitoring within its system. Flow monitoring is used to attain a base measure of flow within a sewer system, so PCWASA staff then can identify areas of inflow and infiltration (I&I) during heavy rain events.

    In addition, the PCWASA Board approved a contract with MWH Americas, LLC to perform hydraulic modeling of the sanitary sewer system. Hydraulic modeling allows PCWASA staff to assess the performance of the sewer system under various peak conditions.

    Flow monitoring and advanced hydraulic modeling ultimately allow the Authority to achieve three major objectives. First, this process will certify the sewer pipe and pump capacity of the PCWASA system, so the Authority remains in compliance with requirements of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.

    Furthermore, the hydraulic model will aid the Authority in evaluating the impact of any major customer connections or new additions to the system.

    Finally, flow monitoring and hydraulic modeling can be used in conjunction with data already collected by PCWASA staff and contractors from RedZone Robotics, to identify necessary repair and rehab projects for the future.

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

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    NATHAN BROOKS INDUCTED INTO GOLDEN MANHOLE SOCIETY

    May 1, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Nathan Brooks (far right), PCWASA Construction Coordinator, is pictured directing a safety demonstration during a past industry conference. Brooks has been inducted into the industry’s prestigious Golden Manhole Society.

    During the Fall Conference of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP), PCWASA Construction Coordinator Nathan Brooks was inducted into the 2016 Golden Manhole Society.

    Brooks has been a leader within GAWP, even chairing the Association’s Safety Committee. His induction into the Golden Manhole Society comes as the result of a recommendation from the GAWP Collections Committee, which is another group of water professionals familiar with Nathan’s excellent work and volunteer service within the industry.

    The Golden Manhole Society was formed in 2003, by the Executive Committee of the Georgia Section of the Water Environment Federation (GWEF). This state industry association established this honor to promote pride and professionalism in wastewater collection system operations through GWEF.

    Being selected to join the ranks of the Golden Manhole Society is a high honor, recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to the art and science of collection system operations through the operation, maintenance, design, construction, management, planning, education, training, or certification of collection systems. In addition, Golden Manhole Society Members have demonstrated exemplary service to GWEF and GAWP.

    Congratulations to PCWASA Construction Coordinator Nathan Brooks for being selected to join this elite group who are the best of the best water professionals working in the operation of wastewater collection systems!

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

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    ANNUAL AND EMERGENCY SERVICE CONTRACTS SAVE PCWASA DOLLARS

    Apr 17, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

    Crews from RDJE, Inc. completed sewer line install and rehab work in the Pebblestump neighborhood two years ago. This general contractor won the most recent bid for the PCWASA Emergency Services Contract.

    Last fall prior to the beginning of the current fiscal year, PCWASA selected two contractors to fill the Annual Services and Emergency Services Contracts.

    Crawford Grading & Pipeline, Inc. was the low-bid winner of the PCWASA Annual Services Contract, while RDJE, Inc. was the low bidder for the Emergency Services Contract. Both general contractors have worked well for the Authority previously, says PCWASA General Manager Stephen Hogan. The budget for the Annual Services Contract is not to exceed $400,000, while the Emergency Services Contract budget is capped at $50,000.

    PCWASA implemented the Annual and Emergency Services Contracts in 2011. The purpose of these contracts is to have contractor-provided services and support to maintain, repair, and modify the sewer collection system and wastewater treatment operations, which are beyond the capabilities of PCWASA personnel. An additional requirement of the Emergency Services Contractor is that they must be able to respond to an incident within four hours.

    These contracts provide unit pricing for the most common types of materials and equipment needed to construct or repair infrastructure within both the wastewater collection system or treatment plants. By paying a fixed dollar amount on materials and labor for projects outlined in the respective contracts, PCWASA saves time and money, especially in cases of emergency repairs to the system.

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

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    CONSTRUCTION BIDS AWARDED FOR MAJOR SEWER LINE REHAB

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

    One of the sewer line rehab projects recently awarded to Crawford Grading and Pipeline, Inc. will entail replacing old clay pipe such as that pictured above.

    Following the February PCWASA Board Meeting, three out of the four proposed construction projects budgeted for FY 2017 were underway.

    In all, the Authority is investing more than $576,000 to repair or replace failing portions of the PCWASA Collection and Conveyance System.

    Upon the recommendations of PCWASA staff and their consultants from Integrated Science and Engineering (ISE), the Authority Board awarded contracts to low bidders on three major sewer line or force main rehabilitation projects.

    The first project, totaling more than $218,000, was awarded to Crawford Grading and Pipeline, Inc. This work entails replacing the aging 8-inch clay pipe and moving that sewer line that runs under the railroad near Paschall and Huddlestson Roads.

    The Authority awarded a second contract for a little more than $358,000 to RDJE, Inc. to repair and replace failing portions of the two force mains servicing PCWASA Pump Stations #2 and #3, while installing gravity sewer lines as well. The work will entail the repair of 12’’, 18”, 24”, and 30-inch pipe.

    Collectively, these projects totaling more than $576,000 are approximately $68,000 under budget.

    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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