Dalton Utilities Receives Top State Honors

Dalton Utilities’ Loopers Wastewater Treatment Plant named GAWP Plant of the Year. (L to R): Wastewater personnel receive the award - Don Johnson, Joe Tankersley, Loren Herod, Cathy Holmes of the Board of Water, Light & Sinking Fund Commissioners, Jeff McNeeley & Jim Shafer.

At the April 2011 Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) conference, Dalton Utilities’ Loopers Wastewater Treatment Plant was named the 2011 Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year.  The Loopers Plant also received this award in 2006 and 2009. Additionally, Dalton Utilities’ Mill Creek Water Treatment Plant won the GAWP 2011 Drinking Water Taste Test Award for District One.

Recipients of  GAWP’s Plant of the Year award must show outstanding plant operations, including employee resources, facilities and operations, safety, emergency response protocols, and staff technical training.

“Plants nominated for ‘Plant of the Year’ undergo rigorous onsite inspections which include a detailed review of permit performance, operational efficiency, and professional certification of employees. A team of two to four inspectors will take a whole day to review records and inspect plant buildings,” said Don Johnson, Dalton Utilities Water/Wastewater Treatment Manager.  “These inspectors are always water or wastewater operators from other cities who do not compete in the same category.  The team will also randomly question our plant operators on the details of plant operation and our state permits.”

Dalton Utilities employs 50 water and wastewater operators. The State water/wastewater certifications have three levels with Class One being the highest. Of Dalton Utilities’ 50 water and wastewater operators, 33 hold Class One certifications, three hold Class Two certifications, and seven hold Class Three certifications.  Seven of the newer employees are in the process of becoming certified.

Dalton Utilities’ Loopers Wastewater Treatment Plant was completed in 1999.  The plant is a “sister” plant to the Utility’s Riverbend plant, and the Loopers plant can treat up to 20 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater.  The Riverbend plant houses a fine screens building which screens all incoming wastewater (or influent) for itself and the Loopers plant.

Dalton Utilities’ Mill Creek Water Treatment Plant also was awarded the 2011 GAWP Drinking Water Taste Test Award – District One.  The Mill Creek Plant also placed 2nd overall in the state.  Dalton Utilities’ Water Treatment Plants have won Taste Test Awards in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, as well.

GAWP is Georgia’s largest professional water and wastewater organization with more than 5,000 members involved in every aspect of water management and protection.