Wastewater department honored

The City of Concord Wastewater Resources Department recently was awarded the first ever North Carolina Collection System of the Year Award.

It was presented by the North Carolina American Water Works Association and the North Carolina Water Environment Association, both of which are dedicated to providing water and wastewater education, training and service in an effort to protect public health and the environment.

The award identifies and recognizes a municipality that protects the public health and the natural beauty of the environment through proactive practices of management, operations and maintenance beyond what is required by its N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources collection system permit.

"This was truly a team effort that extends beyond the Wastewater Resources Department," said former Wastewater Resources Director Mark Fowler, who recently accepted a position with WSACC. "This award also represents many years of work from equipment purchases for line cleaning or replacement to rehabilitation projects, lining pipe and replacing manholes. We appreciate the support we get from management and (city) council to allow us to operate our system as we do."

A maximum of four wastewater collection systems in our state may be recognized each year; one for each system size category (large, medium, small and micro). Concord's wastewater collection system fell within the large system category (greater than 500 miles of gravity sewer).

This is the first year the award has been issued in North Carolina. The Wastewater Resources Department was presented with a plaque at the NC AWWA-WEA's annual conference in November, which was held at the Concord Convention Center.

As a recipient, the Wastewater Resources Department has demonstrated the performance of quality collection system maintenance through the efficient use of labor, materials, equipment and innovative methods to keep the system in good working condition. Proper system maintenance minimizes potential health hazards and property damage that can be caused by sanitary sewer overflows.

However, portions of the system are more than 100 years old, but staff members monitor, inspect, clean and rehabilitate the system regularly. The award recognizes their effort and honors the personnel who provide this service to our community.

NC AWWA-WEA has more than 3,000 members in North Carolina, comprised of individuals from municipal and private utilities, consulting engineering firms, government agencies, companies who provide equipment and supplies to the industry, and representatives of academia who teach and conduct research in water and wastewater-related areas.