A Voice for the Waters

Now that you know who the Water Conservation Office is, and how it is fitting into social media, I want to share a little about the people the Office speaks for.

This office is the spokesperson—or spokesoffice, I suppose—for the other divisions within Public Utilities. Yes, Athens-Clarke County has a Public Information Office, but the Water Conservation Office serves to inform the public about everything water: from the recycling, cleaning, and filtering of it to the conservation of this precious resource.

Let me try to break it down a little.

Within the Public Utilities Department, there are several divisions:

1) Water Conservation Office: that’s us, obviously.

2) Water Business Office: they handle your water and sewere bill, turn on your water, etc.

3) Meter Management: they handle your meters, making sure they’re working and reading correctly.

4) Water and Sewer: this is the group of people that handles Athens’ water and sewer infrastructure (pipes, etc).

5) Water Reclamation: these facilities reclaim water we’ve used and treat it before returning it to the rivers.

6) Water Treatment: this facility treats our drinking water before it’s sent to us.

With the exception of our office, these divisions spend their time keeping our city hydrated and our water clean, so it’s our job to keep you thinking about them. In particular, the water reclamation facility workers and the drinking water treatment plant workers are indispensable to Athens.

In fact, Marilyn likes to consider them Athens’ first environmentalists: the treatment plants have been around since before the Clean Water Act (1972)!

Water Reclamation has been a practice in Athens since 1962: that’s 50 years of cleaning the water we put back into our rivers!  I want to give a huge round of applause to our Water Reclamation Facilities; because of the work they do, our rivers are much cleaner than they used to be.

Cleaner rivers mean less intense drinking water treatments, which mean cleaner drinking water!  Our drinking water treatment plant (J.G. Beacham Water Treatment Plant) takes water out of the North and Middle Oconee (or the Bear Creek Reservoir when the rivers are too low), purifies it, and sends it to our homes, businesses, and industries.

My explanations of the processes at these plants are very simplified. I will elaborate on each in later blogs (so stay tuned!!), but for now I just wanted to impress upon you that these facilities, and all the people who keep them running, are some of the most important in our city.

Without them…I shudder to think what we’d be drinking.

So the next time you turn your faucet on to fill your water bottle or a pot for dinner:

Think at the sink.

Think about just how much time and effort goes into getting that cool, clear water to you.

Annaliese Ashley-Intern

Originally posted on waterconservationstation.blogspot.com, 8/21/12

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