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Drinking Water Week: Swainsboro, Georgia Team

As we celebrate Drinking Water Week, May 3 – 9, 2020, we’re highlighting how Jacobs is making this year’s theme, “It is there when you need it,” a reality through our projects and team of dreamers, makers and doers.

As we celebrate Drinking Water Week, May 3 – 9, 2020, we’re highlighting how Jacobs is making this year’s theme, “It is there when you need it,” a reality through our projects and team of dreamers, makers and doers.

Celebrate the award-winning, more than 28-year partnership between Jacobs and the City of Swainsboro, Georgia in this article.

Going for the gold – Delivering high-quality drinking water in Georgia

The 2020 Summer Olympics may have been postponed until 2021, but there is no lack of gold in Swainsboro, Georgia. Jacobs and the City of Swainsboro, partners for over 28 years, were recently awarded the Georgia Association of Water Professionals’ (GAWP) Drinking Water Facility Gold Award. The award recognizes drinking water treatment facilities that perform above and beyond minimum standards to run efficiently and effectively.

Jacobs’ 21 operating staff work diligently to supply clean water for the city, achieve high-quality treated wastewater effluent and maintain roadways and public spaces. More than 7,500 residents depend on Jacobs for clean drinking water in Swainsboro, but a lot goes into ensuring the city’s drinking water is reliable and up to state and federal regulations.

Ensuring quality drinking water

In 2018, the City tasked Jacobs with helping select a tank maintenance company to evaluate and complete repairs to four elevated water tanks. The repairs were necessary in order to meet the standards of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the American Water Works Association, in addition to decrease water loss.

Jacobs selected American Tank Maintenance to complete the repairs. The repairs were completed in one year but the cost was spread over five years in order to limit the financial impact to the City. Following, the Georgia EPD recommended the City repair or replace two additional tanks due to their age and condition. While the cleaning, painting and repairs on the first four tanks were completed swiftly, Jacobs needed to understand how taking the two tanks offline would affect system pressure and insurance ratings. Jacobs worked with city engineers to conduct line pressure testing, and as a result, it was determined they needed to take one tank offline and secure funding for a new tank.

To make the new tank a reality, the Swainsboro City Administrator secured a low interest loan, getting 50% of the cost forgiven. The City and Jacobs are currently collaborating on obtaining the new tank and getting it into full production. The new tank will ultimately improve the overall safety of the water system in addition to the infrastructure that will help to attract new industries.

“Our repairs in recent years and the eventual introduction of the new tank are about refocusing on the community’sneeds and concentrating our efforts on improvement, planning and value,” says Project Manager Don Dodson. “We are committed to supporting our client-partner by keeping the facility operational and protecting public health and the environment. The GAWP award is just a reflection of the standard we set for delivering high-quality drinking water to our community.”

While the results of the new tank have yet to be realized, the overall repairs have resulted in a decrease in water loss, remarkable cost savings and an improved cost per gallon treated.

A winning partnership

Most of the staff call Swainsboro home and continue to be invested in the community where they live and work. Whether they are mentoring disadvantaged kids, serving as volunteer firefighters, supporting the local booster club and the chamber of commerce, or volunteering to support the annual Pine Tree Festival, the Jacobs teams goes above and beyond to improve and preserve the quality of life in the community.

“The City of Swainsboro will never accept anything less than excellence in the standards of safety and quality of the water we provide for our citizens,” says City of Swainsboro Mayor Charles Schwabe. “Jacobs has understood this and have delivered upon that mandate.”

“Whether it be hurricane season, a global health pandemic or an extreme summer, ensuring the community has access to clean and safe drinking water is a top priority for us,” adds Don. “The City and its residents rely on us day in and day out to make sure the community continues to run efficiently.”

This marks the third consecutive year that Jacobs received the GAWP Gold Award for perfect compliance on the water system. Swainsboro was also the recipient of the GAWP Wastewater Facility Gold Award twice in the last three years.

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