On March 25, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced the winners of this year’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Operations Award at the 83rd annual Wastewater Operations Conference in Brooklyn Park.
Three wastewater treatment plants in Aitkin County received the award – the Aitkin WWTP, the McGregor WWTP and the Palisade WWTP.
Only wastewater treatment facility operators with perfect compliance records receive this award. Among the 1,650 wastewater treatment facilities statewide, only 292 awards were given out this year.
Wastewater treatment is vital to the community. Different combinations of physical, chemical and biological processes are used to reduce pollutants in wastewater.
The removal of these pathogens and contaminants are critical to the preservation of the environment and human health.
The MPCA considers three main factors when determining the winners – all monitoring reports are submitted correctly and on time, compliance is demonstrated through monitoring and surveys and all employees have been certified in wastewater operations by the MPCA.
When first contacted for this article, Murv Mock, chief operator at the Aitkin Wastewater Treatment Plant, wasn’t aware that the Aitkin WWTP had won.
“The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been giving out Wastewater Treatment Facility Awards for quite some time,” Mock said. “Aitkin has won quite a few awards in the past, although not every year.”
Mock has been employed by the Aitkin Public Utilities for 21 years. He and BJ Wasserzieher operate the facility.
Mock was quick to share credit with the Aitkin Public Utilities electrical line and city street departments.
“They play a big part as well,” Mock said.