OKLAHOMA CITY – The National Rural Water Association honored two long-serving members of the rural water family during the Tribute to Excellence Awards Ceremony on Sept. 29 in Oklahoma City. Phil Bastin of Indiana and Jim Dunlap of New Mexico received Clark Cronquist Lifetime Achievement Award, in honor of their leadership and service to the NRWA and the water industry.
Bastin lives in Spencer, IN with his wife Trudy. He has been the General Manager of BBP Water Corporation, a multi-county water company for 31 years. He has served on the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water Board of Directors for 26 years holding several offices including serving as the Board President for two years. Bastin has also served on the Board of Directors of NRWA for 23 years, serving as President from 2002 to 2004.
Dunlap resides in Farmington, NM with his wife Chris. He began serving on the NRWA Board of Directors in 1979, three years after the association was formed. He has served in several offices in his 36 years, including as president from 1996 to 1998. He was a founding member of the New Mexico Rural Water Association, and is the President of Upper La Plata Water Users Association.
“This Association supports ALL NRWA initiatives and programs,” said NRWA Award Committee Chairman Paul Fulgham. “WaterPro Conference, Water University, Water Pac and Affinity Programs are promoted at their annual conference and in their publications and website.”
Newer programs such as the WaterPro OnLine Community are also promoted on the IRWA website, magazine, on Facebook and Twitter. They offer limited free legal counsel to members, and their magazine keeps systems aware of industry advances, water quality issues, upcoming events and Association activities and benefits. Local television stations continue to support them by airing public service announcements.
“Alabama is continuously visible in each Congressional District meeting with Members of Congress and supporting their fundraising efforts,” Fulgham said. “The Congressional delegation seeks their position on issues facing the Water Industry in Washington, D. C. and related to local issues.”
The Evergreen Rural Water Association of Washington won the Outstanding Achievement in Technical Assistance Award.
“Technical assistance is the back bone of Evergreen,” Fulgham said. “Their field staff are the lifeblood of the association and superheroes to the community water systems and wastewater treatment plants in their State.”
The summer of 2014, the north central area of Washington experienced a large wildfire. Fire raged over 256,000 acres and power was out in the entire valley. Circuit Riders called systems to check on their statues; and they also drove to systems that couldn’t be reached by phone. Circuit Riders helped systems with backup power, system repairs, water testing, disinfecting, and locating broken and/or burnt water lines.
The Outstanding Achievement in Training Award went to the Wisconsin Rural Water Association.
“Wisconsin prides itself as being the foremost training provider in their state,” Fulgham said. “In 2014, they conducted 233 individual classes & events with 121 different topics in 113 locations around the state. A total of 5,605 operation specialists and utility management personnel attended these sessions.”
Wisconsin recently built a $1.2 million training center exclusively for training system operations specialists in both hands-on and classroom situations. This 14,000 square foot facility includes two classroom training areas, a wet lab for water related training, a wastewater laboratory, an indoor drive through training area and 5 acres of adjacent property where heavy equipment operation and well drilling training is conducted.
“In addition to excellent conferences, certification based training, onsite technical assistance and legislative representation, Kentucky offers many additional programs and services for the express benefit of their member water and wastewater utilities,” Fulgham said.
Kentucky offers members a Finance Corporation, an Information Technology Assistance Program, a Utility Optimization Program, a Compliance Check Program, a Record Keeping Package Program, Utility CCR Hosting and a Benefit Survey.
The City of Davison, Mich. received an Environmental Achievement Award. Davison has five active groundwater wells and has been very proactive in protecting its water supply by implementing a Wellhead Protection Program and has diligently maintained it over the last 12 years.
“Keeping the program vibrant and active is often a challenge for most communities, but Davison has done an amazing job maintaining interest in the program,” Fulgham said. “They worked to find ways to involve stormwater management efforts within the WHPP efforts, as well.”
“With their innovation, they have practically and literally ‘written the book’ on water system energy savings,” said Fulgham. “Their foresight and hard work has realized a savings of over $300,000 per year in energy and power costs.”
The utility has a designated “Energy Champion” who is in charge of overseeing and properly implementing the District’s plans as well as comprehensive training of all operations staff.
The Tribute to Excellence awards ceremony was held as part of NRWA’s WaterPro National Conference held Sept. 28-30 in Oklahoma City.