Haywood Waterways Association passed out its annual awards this month to water quality heroes.
• The Big Creek Award for Partner of the Year went to the Haywood County Environmental Health Department for helping to repair 75 failing septic systems, which were leaching raw sewage, household chemicals, soap, medicines and anything else that people pour down the drain into Richland Creek. Bacteria levels dropped significantly following the septic repairs.
• The Lake Junaluska Award for Volunteer of the Year was given to Richard T. Alexander, one of Haywood Waterways’ founders and longtime board member. He volunteers as a water quality sampler and monitor, with litter pickup efforts and other civic projects.
• The Pigeon River Award was given to the Bethel Rural Community Organization for its significant contribution to protecting land and water resources — including assisting private landowners with eight conservation easements totaling 268 acres, promoting the Voluntary Agricultural District, and hosting public workshops to promote rural land and water conservation. Accepting the award for the Bethel Community Organization were Bill Holbrook, Ted and Pat Carr, Evelyn and Dick Coltman, Steve Sorrels and George Ivey.