Farm Progress

Iowa Rural Water Association recognizes outstanding efforts by members to support Iowa’s water industry.

March 15, 2017

4 Min Read
AWARD WINNERS: Each year the Iowa Rural Water Association recognizes community leaders, rural water systems and industry partners for their commitment to ensuring rural Iowans have access to clean and safe drinking water through its Awards of Excellence Program.

More than 600 people representing 163 rural Iowa communities and 125 industry-related businesses and organizations attended the 42nd annual Iowa Rural Water Association conference held earlier this year in Des Moines.

“This conference is a tremendous opportunity for water and wastewater professionals to visit with industry representatives, network with each other, and attend training sessions led by more than 40 industry leaders and experts,” said Greg Huff, chief executive officer of IRWA. “During the three days, attendees heard presentations on a wide range of topics impacting rural Iowa communities and their ability to deliver safe drinking water and properly handle wastewater.”

Some of the key training topics this year included disaster management, microbiological monitoring of wastewater, new water treatment technologies, troubleshooting lagoons, workplace security, and long-term planning and financing.

One presentation during the conference explained how the new reverse-osmosis water treatment plants in the city of Pella were designed. The community recently constructed a new 3 million-gallon-a-day reverse-osmosis water treatment plant using water from the Jordan Aquifer.

A highlight of the conference each year is recognizing community leaders, rural water systems and industry partners for their commitment to ensuring rural Iowans have access to clean and safe drinking water. The following individuals, communities and organizations were recognized as part of the IRWA’s Awards of Excellence Program this year:

Best Tasting Water — the Poweshiek Water Association. The facility is 3 miles south of Tama on Highway 63 and uses 14 alluvial wells to supply up to 2.8 million gallons of water per day. The Best Tasting Water Contest is part of a national campaign to emphasize the high-quality, standards and taste of water in rural America. An estimated 40 entries will compete in the national “Great American Water Taste Test” in early 2018.

Community of the Year — city of Emmetsburg. This award is presented to a community that exceeds the expectations of their residents with reliable, quality services. Emmetsburg received this year’s award with special recognition to water department foreman John Heddinger and technician David Sandbulte.

Community Operator of the Year — Chad McCleary, Washington. McCleary serves as a water and wastewater operator not only for his own community, but also for a number of surrounding communities and small facilities in southeast Iowa. In 2013, he played an integral role in the city of Washington’s water facility plan, which has led to many major system improvements, including the replacement of a 97-year-old ground storage reservoir and a water tower that was built in 1924. City leaders have also recently invested $600,000 to help with water-well improvements and are working on a $6 million project to update the water treatment plant and make water main replacements.

This year the IRWA also recognized two USDA Rural Development staff for significant contributions to Iowa’s rural water industry. 

Jim Carroll, state engineer, USDA Rural Development, retired last month after serving rural Iowans since 1990.  During his time as USDA Rural Development’s state engineer, Carroll reviewed more than 800 water and wastewater projects that helped improve water access for hundreds of thousands of rural Iowans.

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BETTER WATER: Jim Carroll served as USDA Rural Development’s
state engineer for the past 27 years in Iowa. During that time
he has reviewed more than 800 water and wastewater projects
that helped improve water access for hundreds of thousands of
rural Iowans.

Bill Menner was USDA Rural Development’s state director in Iowa from July 2009 to January 2017. During his time as state director, the agency awarded $295 million in loans and grants to projects to nearly 200 communities to assist with safeguarding the health of rural Iowans through improved water and wastewater services and systems.

Other IRWA Awards of Excellence recipients included:
City Clerk of the Year — Beverly Alesch, city of Marcus
Regional Water System Office Manager of the Year — Peggy Van Kley, Osceola County Rural Water System
• Regional System Board Member of the Year — Richard Vande Haar, Mahaska Rural Water System
• Associate Iowa Rural Association Member of the Year — Garden & Associates
• Special Recognition Award — Jade Willcoxon, former general manager at Regional Water based in Avoca

The IRWA was formed in the early 1970s to provide the most up-to-date, professional and effective training and technical assistance to Iowa’s water systems and wastewater facilities. More than 600 Iowa communities and 17 rural water systems are members of the association, along with 160 businesses and organizations that support the water industry in Iowa.

Source: USDA Rural Development Agency

 

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