H2GO Wins AWWA of NC
H2GO receives disaster preparedness and safety awards.
Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, which recently celebrated 3,000 Days of Safety, has once again received the Disaster Preparedness and George W. Burke, Jr. Safety awards from the North Carolina American Water Works Association and the North Carolina Water Environment Association (NC AWWA-WEA). H2GO received both of these awards in 2017 as well.
The Disaster Preparedness award “is presented to individuals and utilities in acknowledgment of outstanding achievement in advancing disaster preparedness initiatives thereby strengthening our preparedness and increasing our resolve to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, man-made disasters and acts of aggression against our locality, county, state and nation.”
After Hurricane Florence in 2019, H2GO took additional steps to prepare their utility for the next disaster. H2GO recently purchased a diesel fuel emergency storage tank, learning during Florence that it can become a scarce commodity. Public Information Officer Tyler Wittkofsky and Finance Director Scott Hook hold a collective 12 FEMA certifications.
“Being prepared to handle disasters as they arrive while still keeping our customers well informed is something our board and staff take pride in,” says Bob Walker, H2GO’s executive director. “Disasters can strike at any time, in any form, and regularly without any warning. Preparing ahead of time is something we find crucial, as it is our responsibility as a water and wastewater utility to protect and promote the health and welfare of our community.”
The George W. Burke, Jr. Safety Award “encourages an active and effective safety program in municipal and industrial wastewater facilities and to stimulate the collecting and reporting of injury data.” The award recognizes H2GO’s Belville Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is operated by safety manager and plant operator Brian Griffith. H2GO has a number of different programs and strategies in place that encourage safety among employees, including accident prevention programs; electrical safety programs; emergency action plans; fire prevention plans; personal protective equipment programs; and hazard communication programs among many others. The safety committee, led by Griffith, has also been a pivotal function to H2GO’s commitment to safety, meeting monthly and discussing new ideas of how to keep up the organization’s string of safety. H2GO holds regular training and certification courses for their employees, including CPR and AED certifications and fire extinguisher training.
“Without a strong commitment to safety from all levels of management, H2GO would not have been able to develop its strong safety culture,” Griffith says. “Every employee plays an important role in their own safety and the safety of their coworkers. We take great pride in coming to work and going home safe at the end of each day.”
H2GO was recognized during NC AWWA-WEA’s 2020 Virtual Annual Conference on November 2 to 4, 2020. Additionally, their accomplishments will be recognized on the NC AWWA-WEA website and a future issue of NC Currents.
The NC AWWA-WEA is dedicated to providing water and wastewater education, training and service in an effort to protect public health and the environment. They have more than 2,500 members in North Carolina representing municipal and private utilities, consulting engineering firms, government agencies, companies who provide equipment and supplies to the industry, and representatives of academia who teach and conduct research in water and wastewater-related areas.