By Faye Gaston
General information is shared from the Union Springs Utilities Board 2020 Annual CWS Report as an overview of operations.
On November 1, 2018, Union Springs Utilities and ClearWater Solutions (CWS), LLC partnered in a 5-year contract "in an effort to optimize operations and create long-term sustainability for an aging infrastructure". In November 2020 the contract was amended to add 10 more years. The services include all Plant operations, Well operations, and the Repair and Maintenance of all infrastructure (water, wastewater and gas), Meter Reading, Lift Station Maintenance, Right-of-Way Maintenance, and Property Maintenance. "We strive to improve our operations and maintenance process to ensure we meet industry standards and produce the most cost-effective product for our customers. 2020 has been a successful year. The success of the project stems from the skill base, dedication, education of our employees. The past year has been very rewarding for CWS, and we have enjoyed our partnership with the Union Springs Utilities Board".
Community involvement in 2020 included the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, college scholarship program at Bullock County High School, annual community service day for local First Responders (barbecue lunch), and membership on the Planning Commission Board (Gary Hyche).
The Utilities Board members are Robert Williams, Chairman; Eugene Faulk, City Councilman/CWS Liaison; Randy Priori, Joe Harris and Henry Relf.
The ClearWater Solutions principals and project team are: Gary Hyche, Project Manager and Operations Contact; Allen Fowler, Assistant Project Manager; Jeffrey Bronson, Carl Brown Najee Clemons, John Davis, Tony Fitzpatrick, Ernest Reed and Mike Stuart. (Rick Ailiff, President; Houston Black, COO, Lawrence Hughes, Regional Manager).
Facilities owned by the Union Springs Utilities Board are---
*3 Lift Stations;
*Wastewater Trickling Filter Plant #1 (Radford Lane), built in 1962, latest upgrades in 2019, handles mainly residential and also some of the Correctional Facility's flow;
*Wastewater Activated Sludge Plant #2 (Plant Road), built in early 1970's, 1.3 million gallons basin; over past year RAS pumps and air pumps were replaced; handles mainly Wayne's Farm Poultry Plant, south side residential and part of Correctional Facility's flow;
*Land Application Site (Hwy 82), 275-acre spray field, built in 1970's, overhauled in 2019;
*4 Groundwater Wells with gas chlorine injections the only treatment: Well #2 located on Hwy 82, Well #3 located on Hwy 223; Well #4 located on March Street; Well #5 located on Industrial Road;
*4 Elevated Storage Tanks with a combined capacity of 1,350,000 gallons: Welch Tank holds 150,000 gallons; Industrial Tank holds 500,000 gallons; 29 North Tank holds 200,000 gallons, and Hwy 82 Tank holds 500,000 gallons. The largest customer is Wayne Farms which consumes about 50% of the water produced. On average, the distribution system sustains 1,315 customers and is patrolled daily by CWS staff. There are "21 miles of mains/pipes (10 miles of PCV and 11 miles of Cast/Ductile mains).
The CWS staff is charged with the maintaining and repairing of all water lines, water valves, fire hydrants, and water meters. The staff handles water cut-offs, reconnects, meter replacement and new service tap installations.
* 2 Natural Gas Yards: The Natural Gas Distribution System consists of 72 miles of gas mains, two gas yards, and 1,026 customers.
CWS is tasked with maintaining natural gas mains, services, meters, regulator stations, odorization station, right of way cutting, and rectifier stations.
This Natural Gas Department is regulated by the Public Service Commission with strict responsibilities for training personnel and documentation of leaks and damage to the system. CWS has satisfactorily met all standards set forth through state and federal regulations.
ClearWater Solutions (CWS) is charged with the operation of all wastewater plants, gravity sewer lines, force mains, lift stations, sanitary sewer overflows, sewer back-ups, and line cleanings. CWS works with ADEM to ensure all procedures are followed in strict compliance of all state and federal guidelines.
CWS has a Safety Strategic Plan that describes short and long-term action that ensures employees a safe and healthy environment, complies with federal, state and local regulations regarding safe practices, and addresses hazards. All employees are trained to look for and report unsafe conditions and activities.
Continuous training of employees on many levels, from safety to everyday jobs, is a key element to success.