SouthWest Water works to give back to community

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – SouthWest Water Company is best known as owning and operating water treatment and reclamation facilities throughout Shelby County.

However, the Pelham-based company has been heavily involved in philanthropy work throughout the county for many years.

“SouthWest Water is one company that always steps up to the plate,” said Shelby County Community Services Manager Reggie Holloway. It is just an impressive organization that does not mind contributing to things that happen throughout Shelby County.”

SouthWest Water Company Managing Director Craig Sorensen said as part of the company’s guiding principles, they believe in contributing to the betterment of the community.

“SouthWest Water Company, by providing essential water services, improves our communities,” Sorensen said. “But in Shelby County and Birmingham, we want to further advance our community and help many different non-profits annually, with significant sponsorships, leadership, and support.”

“We feel that our position as a caretaker of the world’s most valuable resource is one of great responsibility.  So, on top of our mission to protect our environment, we look for opportunities to make a greater impact and help improve the quality of life in our areas. And I am proud to work with a company that really values societal involvement.”

The company supports Birdies for Charity contest held with the Regions Tradition which has raised more than $1.4 million for area non-profits since SouthWest Water’s involvement as title sponsor, the Rotary Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby County, the Shelby County Arts Council, the Arc of Shelby County, SafeHouse of Shelby County, Leadership Shelby County, and Family Connection.

Other agencies or groups the company supports are Oak Mountain High School athletics, Evangel Classical Christian School, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Adopt-a-Highway, Adopt-a-Stream, United Way office campaigns, Owens House, CASA of Shelby County, Hoover Helps, and the Boy Scouts of America.

The company also provides scholarships to graduating area high school seniors who want to study engineering or environmental sciences.

“We partner with Shelby County in other areas too, including the establishment of a stream monitor to quantify environmental improvements in Shelby County’s Cahaba River basin,” Sorensen said.

While the company is involved in various events and organizations throughout the area, Sorensen said the community involvement has no effect on the company’s rates.

“None of SouthWest Water Company’s support of the entities named here, or any other group not specifically mentioned, is included in any rate calculation,” Sorensen said. “These very worthy causes are supported through personal efforts of conscientious employees and out of net income generated in Alabama.”

The company was founded in 1891, as the East Whittier Land and Water Company, according to the company’s website. Headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, the company has roughly 400 employees in Alabama, California, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

“From my standpoint, it is nice to see a company that willingly helps out different groups and organizations throughout the county,” Holloway said. “I think a lot of people don’t necessarily realize how much SouthWest Water helps out. They are always working to give back to the community with events and activities that are well-loved by so many of our residents.”