The world of wastewater treatment is a lonely one.  We are the unsung heroes, the soldiers at the last bastion between the good health and welfare of the general public and some of the most devastating diseases that have been known to wipe out populations.  We wish the world could see what we do and why we do it.  We wish for some recognition of all the hard work we do to protect the public from unsanitary world under the streets.

Well, we may not get the general public to recognize our accomplishments, but we can recognize and honor ourselves.  Every year, the CWEA honors its members in the various vocations of wastewater management.  We start at the local level and then move to the state level.  And this recognition and honor comes the best source ever:  ourselves.

The CWEA awards program is our chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with our peers and say, “I think you’re doing a great job and I want others to know about it.”

There are over 20 categories for CWEA awards.  Each one has been designed to honor exceptional CWEA members and California wastewater professionals, facilities and agencies.  The awards program seeks to recognize outstanding achievements within the wastewater field, improve the professional status of all personnel working in the wastewater industry and related fields and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the water environment.  The public becomes aware of this because the award recipients are often presented at a municipality’s local council meeting or district board meeting.

The various categories have been sent out previously in a separate announcement.  They cover fields including, but by no means limited to, laboratory, collection persons and systems, maintenance, electrical, operations, engineering, special projects, public education, newsletters, etc.  As you can see, we’ve got a lot of areas we want to recognize – as varied as the different aspects of wastewater treatment.

Awards are given first at our local section level and are awarded at our annual Awards Banquet and Installation of Officers; recipients then advance to the State competition; the State recipients receive their awards at the Friday luncheon of the Annual Conference. In addition, CWEA will forward any State winners in categories corresponding with WEF’s award categories to WEF by April 1st.

There are a few important deadlines for CWEA awards:

  • November 15 – Your local section nomination forms are due
  • 2nd Friday of January – due date for all State nominations to be received from Local Sections
  • 3rd Friday of January – Awards are sent to the State committee chairs for judging

In the past, there are areas receiving no award only because no one thought enough to nominate their co-worker or plant.  You may have wanted to but just didn’t take the few minutes needed to complete a simple nomination form.  After that, there’s guilt and regret.  Don’t feel guilty that you didn’t do all you could to let the public know the importance of the work we do.  Take those few minutes and complete that nomination form.