H20

Liz Marino/Douglas County Sentinel Lyndsey Sargent, communications coordinator with the Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA), hands out cups of cold, water from this unique dispenser during Food Truck Mondays in Douglasville last year. The dispenser can hold 125 gallons of water.

When you turn on your faucet, it’s likely the H20 begins to flow. However, when at an outdoor event, thirst-quenching water may not be so readily available.

To provide this customer service, the Douglasville-Douglas County Water Sewer and Authority (WSA) has launched its H20 to Go program, from which the WSA’s clean water is brought out to its customers.

“We capitalized on the success we had when we launched the program this summer,” said Lyndsey Sargent, communications coordinator for WSA. “We launched the whole component during September Saturdays. It provides a service to people.”

In addition to providing a cool drink of water to the public, Sargent said she hopes to use this service as an educational component to teach people about how safe, clean water comes to them, along with other topics such as water conservation, drought conditions and where wastewater goes when you flush. WSA also wants to inform the public about the benefits of tap vs. bottled water and making the smart choice.

The WSA purchased the 125-gallon tank along with a larger trailer to keep up with demand and outfit the trailer with dispensers.

“There is a lot of coordination involved,” she said, “such as only using ice made from WSA water. But it has paid off in community engagement.”

Gil Shearouse, executive director of the WSA, said that the intention in the near future is to be able to participate in major community events. The H20 to Go’s inaugural event was during Food Truck Mondays in downtown Douglasville, sponsored by Main Street Douglasville.

The WSA, through its H20 to Go program, dispensed 125 gallons of drinking water plus another half bucket during the first September Saturday this year totaling 1,500 cups of cool water to the public on a very, very hot day. During this year’s second September Saturday, the WSA served up 125 gallons to the crowd.

“A lot of the people had never tasted the water,” said Sargent, “and said, ‘Oh, this is really good.’ ”

The WSA plans to have the H20 program set up to provide a cool drink at all of the major events, including the Hydranga Festival, Chili Cook-Off, the local parades, 5K races, golf tournaments, school events and more.

“We are trying to capture the goodwill of the community, to let them see what the program is about and what they can expect,” she said.

In addition to bringing its cool, refreshing water out to a thirsty public, the WSA also wants to use it as a tool for providing factual information and answering consumers’ questions.

“We want to engage them about water service in Douglas County and dispel misinformation regarding water service,” she said. “When we do community engagement, we have time to talk to customers about the WSA system and provide them with valuable information.”

Recent advertisements put out by the water filtering system PUR have portrayed municipal water sources in a bad light, which has caused some members of the public to question the safety of their drinking water — a ploy designed to sell the company’s water filter products, Sargent said.

Sargent said the WSA meets the all of the regulations set by the Environmental Protection Division (EPD.)

“The tap water provided by the WSA is in compliance with federal health–based drinking water standards,” she said. “The PUR commercials came out a few months ago and the WSA received over 100 comments on Facebook, but zero calls. People were not concerned enough to call us but it breeds mistrust based on non-facts.”

She said it is important to understand that the first source of information on your water system IS your water source — not a PUR commercial or website.

“The water (system) is transparent,” Sargent said.

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