Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County facility to study water access, treatment around the world

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Experts from around the world are expected to converge in Gwinnett County to help solve a basic problem around the world: access to clean water.

An innovation hub near Buford is designed to help residents here and around the globe.

A who’s who of Gwinnett County lined up to celebrate the opening of what’s dubbed the Water Tower.

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The idea is to bring experts in private industry and government from around the world together to create better ways to clean something we all take for granted.

The Water Tower CEO Melissa Meeker told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas the 55,000 square foot facility built right next to the massive Gwinnett County water treatment plant will help companies flush out new technologies in water, test them and train workers.

“It’s such a core thing, but people don’t think about it,” Meeker said. “They just go over to the tap, they turn it on, water comes out. They flush the toilet and it goes away. What happens in between? We have no idea, so we are trying to bring a little light to that.”

There are labs, outdoor testing areas for new products and a mock control room.


“We have universities who are going to use this facility,  private companies, product manufacturers who in their own facilities may not have their own R&D programs,” Meeker said.

Officials cut a ceremonial ribbon Wednesday and toured the facility.

“I have utilities coming from California, Texas, Arizona, Florida to see the facility,” Meeker said.

The $35 million facility has been in the works for years, and there’s already plans for expansion even before the innovation lab is fully up and running.

Thomas asked both Meeker and Gwinnett chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson, “Why Gwinnett?”

“As Gwinnett County continues to evolve and grow, we know water is going to be a factor in economic development and quality of life and sustaining the future,” Hendrickson said.

“Gwinnett has always had a reputation for being innovative and proactive,” Meeker said.

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The Water Tower will be run and funded by two separate nonprofits and will be in charge of its own fundraising.


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