Recap of the Georgia Onsite Wastewater Association Annual Conference

The Georgia Onsite Wastewater Association (GOWA) held its Annual Conference on January 17, 2014 at the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center. The Conference was attended by approximately 135 onsite contractors, pumpers, environmentalists, suppliers, manufacturers and government officials.

In addition to the speakers and seminars, suppliers to the onsite industry displayed their wares to the attendees at their exhibit booths. As always attendees enjoyed talking to the suppliers and putting their hands on various new products and supplies. Attendees received one hour of CEU for visiting the exhibit booths and one lucky member won $100 cash from a drawing
of those who got the exhibitors to sign their forms.

The day was power packed to give the attendees the 8 hrs of CEUs they needed to satisfy the state certification requirements the deadline for which is Feb. 28. The day began at 8 a.m. with David Presby, Presby Environmental, discussing decentralized systems. Chris Kumnick, Program Director, Land Use, Environmental Health Branch, Ga. Dept. of Public Health reviewed the latest rules and regs from the state that all onsite industry participants must know. Chris really knows his stuff and attendees learned a great deal from his presentation.

Next Ted Hendrickx, Wastewater Regulatory Program, Watershed Protection Branch, Ga. Environmental Protection Division, Ga. Dept. of Natural Resources talked about the septage land application and dewatering rules that would soon be going into effect. Mr. Hendrickx had worked closely with members of GOWA on the new rules and after a lot of give and take, GOWA members were satisfied with the results. We really appreciate Ted working with us on these new rules. The spirit of cooperation on both sides made a real difference in the quality of the outcome.

After lunch Sgt. Billy Case of the Ga. Dept. of Public Safety, Motor Carrier Div., gave a presentation on Safe Hauling Rules and Regulations. A lot of times this is not what we want to hear but we’ve got to know the rules and Sgt. Case seemed to really understand our point of view.

Walter George, Walter G. George Soil Consultants, gave an interesting presentation on understanding soils. Walter is very knowledgeable about soils and he presented it in such a way that it made a lot of sense to the contractors.

Incoming GOWA President, Matt Vinson, Vinson Septic Solutions, gave a presentation on Identifying Causes of Septic Failures that made a lot of the attendees really think about how they could prevent these in the future to save themselves a lot of time and expense.

In addition to the seminars, new GOWA Officers and Directors were announced. Most notably was incoming President Matt Vinson taking over from now Immediate Past President John Ford, Infiltrator Systems Inc.

All in all the attendees learned a great deal and got to see a lot of new products, services, supplies and equipment from the exhibitors. We hope that everyone involved in the onsite industry will make a point of attending the conference next year. Don’t wonder what you missed. Come and see for yourself!

Story by By Bruce Widener, Executive Director and Lobbyist, Georgia Onsite Wastewater Assn.

For more information on GOWA, please contact Bruce Widener, P. O. Box 910, Hartwell, GA 30643, bruce@brucewidener.com or 678-646-0379.

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