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Rarely in the history of Georgia have the people of a whole county banded together to build themselves a water supply system in less than a decade. Rarely indeed do we find both county and city leaders working hand in hand for such a common goal. Yet this is the case in Heard County where a brand new waterworks and over one hundred miles of rural and city water mains shall be completed in less than three years.
Not only will safe drinking water and fire protection be available to the majority of the citizens but also at uniform rates regardless of incorporated or rural areas Each consumer shall be offered service according to one ordinance with published rates and service connection charges. These rates are based on balanced system operating budget without political or pressure group influence.
All of this was made possible by the formation of the Franklin/Heard County Water Authority duly authorized by House Bill No. 1501 on March 21, 1984. This Authority, now in full operation, with a five member board, full time Director and system operating personnel constructed the water distribution and water works system on a most ambitious schedule. The waterworks and arterial mains will be completed in the spring of 1988. The overall County water main system is scheduled to be completed in 1990.
While the magnitude of this safe drinking water system is of interest, the real story to be told is of the formation of the politically independent body responsible for its operation. Just as the writers of our constitution began with "WE THE PEOPLE" so did the leaders of the County and Franklin City Government dedicate their effort to the needs of the people of Heard County.
Early in this decade the Franklin City officials Hon. Truitt Davis, Mayor and Sherman Eley, City Manager, recognized the limitations of the existing Franklin City groundwater supply, and enlisted the aid of Hartrampf Engineering, Inc. to investigate a more reliable and abundant water supply. With the guidance of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Principal Geologist, it was established that surface water from Centralhatchee Creek was the most desirable source of supply.
Extensive testing by the EPD Surface Water Program confirmed this source of abundant, clean water.
At this point, Steve Lipford, the County Commissioner took interest in the project, offering County land for a waterworks and reservoir, as well as County support in a program to extend the Franklin water system into the County rural areas and to the City of Centralhatchee. The County Commissioner and Franklin City Manager immediately saw an advantage in such as system being operated by a politically independent body, having equal representation for both municipal and county interests accessible to available public funds.and responsible for operations on a balanced budget.
This meeting of the minds of such responsible leadership proved to be contagious in the County and resulted in H.P. Craft, Hugh Goodson, Robert Canady, Jimmy E. Adams, and Bill Rhodes being elected to the Board of the Franklin/Heard County Water Authority. The Board in turn elected H.P. Craft as Chairman and Bill Rhodes, Secretary Treasurer. This new body contracted with Hartrampf Engineering, Inc. for the design of an expandable County water system and enlisted the aid of the Chattahoochee Flint APDC in its funding plans.
Ms. Tammy B. Prather of this most capable agency obtained commitments from the State of Georgia, the Farmer's Home Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission for grant in aid and loans to build a Waterworks, a raw water reservoir and the arterial distribution system. Ms. Prather's dedication to the people of Heard County, her administrative abilities and experience led the authority to name her Executive Director with responsibilty for operation of both the existing Franklin system and the new systems to be constructed.
Mindful of the Authorities' goal to one day supply water to all of Heard County the engineer incorporated EPD Approved Packaged Modular Water Treatment Equipment in the Waterworks design to acheive reserve capacity for the future and build a raw water storage reservoir for dry weather at a price the people could afford.
When the New Waterworks and Water Mains would provide safe drinking water beyond the limits of the Franklin City System, at least a hundred miles of additional water main was needed for the County Water System, envisioned by the County Commissioner and the Water Authority. If Heard County was to enjoy economic growth its leaders knew that the people must realize how important these water mains would be. (continued next page)
and early fall of 1986, with a serious drought causing hardship to countless citizens depending on wells, the Water Authority and all of the public officials of Heard County mounted a public information program to explain to the citizens that they could afford a dependable safe drinking water system which would mean new jobs from new industries and a better way of life.
With the ink barley dry on the Engineer's drawings of the first project, the citizens of Heard County went to the polls in the November 1986 election and by referendum dedicated one percent local option sales tax revenues to the Water Authority to extend the water system into the far reaches of Heard County to the limit of available funds. These tax dollars translated into water mains, storage tanks for fire protection and improvements to the old Franklin water system will become over 120 miles of water mains with services and fire hydrants for over 1800 families, as well as an abundance of high purity water for present and future industries.
To be sure there are many water systems in Georgia more extensive than this, but to Rural Georgia, heard County should stand as an example of the capabilities of "WE THE PEOPLE" attaining our inalienable rights to safe drinking water.
Respectfully submitted for publication by:
Tammy B. Prather
Franklin/Heard County Water Authority and Joseph H. Hewetson, Jr., P.E.
Hartrampf Engineering, Inc.
Reprinted from an original document dated 1986
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