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In addition to being home to some of the Army's finest training opportunities, Fort Benning was also recently recognized as being home to some of the best water treatment facilities in the state of Georgia.
The Georgia Association of Water Professionals presented Columbus Water Works with several awards for its Fort Benning facilities during the GAWP spring conference in April.
All in all, every water treatment facility on Fort Benning won some type of award at the conference.
"The Water Works is proud that all of the potable water facilities here at Fort Benning won some type of award through the Georgia Association of Water Professionals," said Vic Burchfield, vice president of information and environmental services for Columbus Water Works. "(GAWP) has a very high standard for awards selection that it applies to all the water and wastewater facilities in the state of Georgia. We're just so proud ... that we had all of our facilities, both the wells and the treatment plant, receive some level of award."
Among the awards was a Plant of the Year award for outstanding operation in the category of ground water less than 1 million gallons per day, which was presented to the Tricolor Range Well.
Other facilities on Fort Benning received Gold and Platinum awards. Gold awards are presented when a facility has no water quality permit violations for one year, while platinum awards are presented when a facility has no water quality permit violations for five years.
This year, ground wells at McKenna Military Operations in Urban Terrain site, Carmouche Range, Camp Darby, Griswold Range and Hastings Range won platinum awards, while gold awards were presented to the Fort Benning Water Treatment Plant and ground wells at McKenna MOUT, Malone Range, Tricolor Range and Leyte Field Range.
Another Leyte Field Range well was also presented with a certificate of achievement, awarded to facilities that score 95 percent or higher on a GAWP audit.
Carl Corley, the assistant superintendent for the water treatment plant, said the credit for the awards should lie with the numerous members of the operations staff.
"Our operations staff - the guys who are actually out in the field day to day are the ones who actually make this stuff happen," he said. "Operators here at the plant and field operators are key. It's not just a single person's effort. It's really a collaboration of a lot of people. ... It's hard to pinpoint one person when there are so many people in the organization making this a success.
Fort Benning's water treatment plant has provided Fort Benning with drinking water since it went into operation in September 2012. It is one of only four facilities in the state of Georgia to use a membrane filtration process, where water that is withdrawn from the Chattahoochee River is first treated through traditional means before being forced through a micropore membrane that prevents any solids from passing through.
"We simply want to strive for excellence just like all of Fort Benning," Burchfield said. "Fort Benning's value of excellence is the same that we share at the Water Works. We want to provide great service to the residents of Fort Benning and provide a high quality drinking water."