The Water System’s “Triple A” bond rating was reaffirmed in 2015 by the nation’s top three bond rating agencies, reflecting the system’s ongoing financial stability as well as recognizing its growing and diverse economy. At the time of the reviews, Cobb Water was one of only three enterprise municipal water and sewer utilities in the nation to be honored this way.
The Water System received a number of awards in 2015. Again we have won the Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense Large Utility Partner of the Year Award for our efforts in public outreach related to the efficient use of our water supplies The Water Efficiency Program continues to demonstrate effectiveness and leadership in this area. This was the fourth time the award was presented to Cobb’s program in the last six years.
An effective, award-winning Water Efficiency Program has resulted in decreasing per capita water demand during the past several years. This allows service to an increasing customer base without putting additional stress on limited drinking water supplies. An indirect result is the slow rate at which wastewater flows to the treatment plants are increasing. Additional treatment capacity is not expected to be needed until sometime after 2035.
As several projects to improve wastewater treatment effectiveness are concluded (solids handling projects at South Cobb and Sutton water reclamation facilities, chemical feed at South Cobb and ongoing technology/communication improvements at all plants), projects are becoming focused on replacement/renewal of aging water, sewer and stormwater pipelines.
We continue to replace water mains of substandard materials with ductile iron at a rate of about 25 miles per year. In 2015, in addition to a number of sewer and stormwater pipe replacement projects, we were able to repair several miles of pipe with synthetic internal liners. This process is less expensive and much less disruptive than traditional techniques.
The South Cobb Tunnel project is expected to be fully operational in 2016. Construction of the tunnel was completed ahead of schedule and under budget; however, technical issues remain with the influent pump station at its downstream end. The contractor is currently refining operation of the high horsepower pumps that return flows to the surface for treatment at the South Cobb Water Reclamation Facility.
While most of the organization’s focus has been on construction, significant progress has also been made in essential systems and programs. A robust asset management system remains an ongoing priority. The Water System’s geographic information system continues to grow and provide increased capabilities in conjunction with county efforts. The Maximo Work Order System provides for efficient management and retrieval of work orders, although it and the billing system need some improvements.
All four of the county’s wastewater treatment facilities were recognized with platinum awards for operational effectiveness. The system maintenance division also received a platinum award for outstanding operation in the Large Utility category.