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Statewide association names Newton’s water plant ‘Best Operated’
lake Varner

COVINGTON, Ga. — A statewide organization on Tuesday tapped Newton County’s Cornish Creek Water Treatment Plant for its award as the Best Operated Water Treatment Facility in the state of Georgia for 2021.

County Manager Jarvis Sims announced the Georgia Association of Water Professionals selected Cornish Creek for the award due to "excellent operation of the facility,"

Newton County Water Resources Director James Brown said in a news release, "This is another testament to the outstanding staff we have here in the Newton County Water Resources Department."

This is the second time Newton County has received the honor of Water Treatment Plant of the Year, winning previously in 2019.

Newton County Chairman Marcello Banes said, “I am so proud of the men and women in our Water Treatment Plant."

"This honor is because of their hard work,” Banes said. “This just goes to show what I have been hearing from others across the state and what I’ve been telling my colleagues, that Newton County has the best water department in Georgia.”

The Georgia Association of Water Professionals is a nonprofit agency that educates, provides professional development and promotes sound public policy in the water resources and related environmental fields, according to its website.

The Cornish Creek Water Treatment Facility was built in three phases. The original phase was completed in 1992 with an expansion completed in 1999 and another in 2010. 

Its water sources include the Cornish Creek Reservoir (Lake Varner) and the Alcovy River. 

County commissioners in September 2021 approved construction on a $32 million upgrade of the Cornish Creek water treatment plant.

Completion was set for early 2023 and will include a new floating dock pump station and water line for drawing up to 35 million gallons of raw water per day from Lake Varner.

It also is set to add three new high-service pumps for treated water; and improvements to the bulk chemical storage area, plant electrical system and backup generator.

Relocation of the operator control room and plant laboratory, among other improvements, also are included, according to documents. 

The plant currently treats an average of 13.5 million gallons. The improvements will allow the facility to produce up to 25 million gallons of treated water “on a continuous basis,” county Water Resources director James Brown told commissioners.

It will also be designed to allow expansion to produce 35 million gallons a day, according to the documents.

The Newton County Water System is a wholesale provider of water treated at its Cornish Creek and Williams Street plants.

Its customers include the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority; the cities of Covington, Mansfield, Newborn, Oxford and Porterdale; and the Alcovy Shores Water Authority, Jasper County Water and Sewer Authority, and Walton County Board of Commissioners, according to information from the water system.