Praise for a job well done

Praise for a job well done Anthony Deloch (left) of the Environmental Protection Agency's Denver, CO offices, presents a national honor to the city of Vermillion and its wastewater treatment plant. Accepting the award are Mayor Roger Kozak and plant personnel Bob Gilkyson, Superintendent Paul Brunick, Roger Hauger, Fred Balleweg, Brad Swee and John Walker. by David Lias They are city employees who are easy to take for granted.

After all, the general public seldom thinks about where their dirty bathwater that circles the drain or the flush of a commode is eventually destined.

It's easy, too, to forget the negative impact on the environment if waste matter isn't processed properly.

For members of the crew at the Vermillion Wastewater Treatment Plant, however, it's a constant, 24 hours a day, seven days a week concern.

Plant employees have proven they are among the best in the nation in striving for excellence at the city's wastewater plant.

That was enough to bring Anthony Deloch of the Environmental Protection Agency's Denver, CO offices to Vermillion to personally honor the crew and the city with a national Clean Water Act recognition award.

Specifically, the crew and plant were honored with the "first place medium secondary treatment award for outstanding and innovative achievements through operation and maintenance."

"I'm here to recognize the staff at the city of Vermillion wastewater treatment facility," Deloch told the Vermillion City Council, "and the great support that the city council, city manager and the administration staff have given."

Deloch said cities that have problems with their wastewater facilities will eventually receive visits from EPA officials.

"We'll obviously show up then," he said. "This is a part of the process of when you are doing good, we also show up."

The award, he said, is designed to also give publicity to folks who are often taken for granted.

"We want to personally say 'thank you' to the frontline environmental workers," Deloch said.

Congress has appropriated

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approximately $80 billion for the Clean Water Act.

"In the last three years, there has been about $1 trillion spent on water and wastewater infrastructure throughout the United States," Deloch said. "So, the priority is obvious. People expect their money to be used well ? and pollution to be kept low as well as costs kept low and to also preserve the investment.

"That's what the folks at the Vermillion Wastewater Treatment Facility are doing," he said.

Deloch said a major contributing factor to the local

facility and its crew receiving the award is their adoption of new technology.

"One effort noted in the award is automation, and how you're saving man hours," he said. Automation has enabled a reduction in inspection time in the daily operation of the plant, Deloch said.

"Also, you have been noted for your mini-mainline camera system, which is a good tool to use to do repairs, and also to provide proper maintenance," he said.

Deloch praised the plant crew for its laboratory management process, and its use of computer programs to prepare reports and do analysis.

"For that, I commend you," he said.

Deloch presented the plant crew and city council members with pins and certificates.

He also presented a plaque to the city which reads:

"The U.S. EPA Region 8 Clean Water Act Recogniton Award 2003, for outstanding and innovative achievements through operations and maintenance, first place medium secondary treatment, presented to the city of Vermillion Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Included on the plaque are the names of the mayor, city manager, the aldermen, and the treatment facility's staff.

"We appreciate your support," said Paul Brunick, superintendent of the plant. He then turned to a group of men seated behind him � his co-workers at the plant.

"I'd like to thank Bob Gilkyson, Roger Hauger, Fred Balleweg, Brad Swee and John Walker. They're the backbone of the facility," he said.

"We thank you for your good efforts," Mayor Roger Kozak said, "because any time you get recognition like this, obviously we know it's more than just a job well done � it's a job that is totally outstanding."

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