Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2014 - (Page 26)
A new approach by Grady County
Water District #6 in Oklahoma has
garnered praise by the US EPA
BY MARIA LOPEZ-CARBO, U.S. EPA
IN A METAL building west of the small Oklahoma town of Amber, Paul
Jones is gathering his staff around a wall filled with color-coded pipe
maps and a whiteboard scrawled with the day's priorities. The offices
may not be impressive, but the transformation of this rural water
utility has been remarkable.
"When I got here seven years ago,
the infrastructure was in bad shape,"
explained Jones, manager of Grady
County Rural Water District #6. "The
utility hadn't received the level of maintenance it required."
Grady #6 was also a purchasing utility, buying their water from the nearby
city of Chickasha. The arrangement had
created two problems. First, Chickasha
was at a lower elevation, so Grady #6 had
to pump all its water uphill, and second,
Manager Paul Jones, left, and
System Operations Specialist
James Calhoun, right, inspect
the air check valves at the
utility's new water tower.
26 * Fourth Quarter 2014
the small utility was responsible for water
quality that was out of their control.
"We had no control over what
Chickasha did to their water, but we
still had to sample and we could still be
fined if they were out of compliance,"
said Sharron Garrett, the utility office
manager. "Your destiny is in someone
The small system needed to adapt,
to change, but it was facing many of
the problems common to rural utilities.
With a staff of six and 1,464 connections,
Grady #6 had to maintain over 700 miles
of pipe over 600 square miles of territory.
The system supplies water to four different school districts and covers most of
northern Grady County.
"It's very difficult for a rural system to raise the capital to make big
changes," said Garrett, who started
working at Grady #6 with her husband
when the utility was started in 1975 and
had 365 connections.
The utility started by making smaller
changes, like making water loss a primary focus.
"When I started, water loss was around
45 percent," Jones said. "Right now we
average 25 percent water loss, but when
we get to 10 percent, that's when we've
really worked on water loss."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2014
From the President
Cyber Security for Busy People
10 Ways Technology Is Changing the Future of Water
Innovation and Improvements: Grady County Water District #6
A Donation to Make a Difference: Hd Supply Waterworks Donates Waterstep’s M-100 Portable Water Purification Systems
Why I Rally!
Success in Seattle: Waterpro 2014
National Rural Water Association’s Awards of Excellence
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/ advertisers.com
From the Ceo
Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2014
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