Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2014 - (Page 26)

Innovation and Improvements 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 else's hands." 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
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From the Ceo

Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2014