CHEYENNE - Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon proclaimed this week, Feb. 6-13, as the Wyoming Professional Water and Wastewater Operator Appreciation Week. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) is joining him in honoring these essential professionals.
Water treatment, water distribution, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment operators are professionals who are vital to Wyoming. They protect public health by ensuring that our drinking water is safe and pure.
They protect our Wyoming lakes and rivers by removing pollutants from our wastewater. Certified operators are also essential to correctly operate and maintain the water and wastewater infrastructure that supports our communities and readies them for future growth.
According to Kim Parker, operator certification coordinator for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, this week was chosen because Feb. 5, 1975, was the day Wyoming’s first operator certification rule was created.
“It’s important that we recognize these professionals and the vital role that they play in safeguarding our health and protecting our environment,” Parker said. “They also protect the investment Wyoming’s taxpayers have made in our water and wastewater infrastructure by operating facilities correctly.”
According to Parker, most people are not even aware of how many things a certified operator needs to do. Not only do they need to know how to correctly operate and maintain the water or wastewater treatment facilities, and the distribution or collection systems, they need to excel at customer service, reporting to elected officials and meeting regulatory requirements.
“Not many professions demand such widely varied skills. Professional operators contribute greatly to the high quality of life that we enjoy here in Wyoming,” Parker added.
Wyoming has about 1,700 operators that work at 434 facilities.