LOCUST GROVE — The Henry County Water Authority and Henry County Stormwater Management partnered with Atlanta Motor Speedway to hold the 2020 Henry County Rivers Alive at the utility’s Gardner Reservoir.

Approximately 20 volunteers from AMS joined staff from the HCWA and Henry County Stormwater to clean up trails and portions of the shoreline around the 209-acre drinking water resource located in Locust Grove.

Maintaining social distance, or wearing masks when necessary, the AMS volunteers collected approximately 25 bags of trash, which equated to about a quarter of a ton of trash, including items like old car tires, luggage, sheets and blankets, clothing, bottles and cans, as well as plenty of other debris.

“The Atlanta Motor Speedway family enjoys pitching in and helping our community as much as we enjoy race day,” said Brandon Hutchison, AMS executive vice president and general manager. “We all work here in Henry County, and many of us proudly call it home, so it’s gratifying to team up with the Henry County Water Authority to make a difference in neighborhoods we hold dear.”

The Henry County Rivers Alive is affiliated with the Georgia Rivers Alive campaign, which is the annual waterway cleanup targeting water bodies all across the state, including creeks, streams, rivers, lakes/reservoirs, beaches, and wetlands.

The objective of Rivers Alive is to create awareness of and involvement in the preservation of Georgia’s water resources.

“While the pandemic has created challenges for all of us, it was great to be able to hold our event because of the dedication of the Water Authority and Cubihatcha Center staff, along with the enthusiasm of the folks from Atlanta Motor Speedway,” said Lindsey Sanders, HCWA environmental compliance coordinator. “As a water utility, we must continually protect water quality and preserve natural resources, and these volunteer efforts helped us do just that.”

Sanders and HCWA officials also took time to remind friends from AMS – while educating the public as well – about some habits and practices that can really help protect local water quality. Some tips include picking up and disposing of pet waste, keeping yard clippings out of storm drains, putting trash in its place to keep litter off the streets, using pesticides and herbicides judiciously, and more.

“Rivers Alive is one of our most important community outreach events of the year, because it has a direct impact on the quality of water in our reservoirs,” said Lindy Farmer, HCWA general manager. “We are very appreciative of the employees from the Atlanta Motor Speedway for taking an active role in helping us protect this critical natural resource.”

Georgia’s waterways, which include more than 70,000 miles of streams and rivers, provide state residents with water for finished drinking water production and recreational opportunities like fishing and boating, while serving as natural resources that add to the quality of life and economic development in the state.

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