Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District Northeast Plant awarded Plant of the Year 2021

It’s a BIG Trophy…and a Pretty Big Deal Too!

The Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District's Northeast Plant was awarded 2021 Plant of the Year by the Illinois Association of Water Pollution Control Operators.   Our Southwest Plant won it for 2010.   There are about 100 plants that are in competition for the award.  And we’ve taken it home for both of our plants, just 11 years apart. This honor is especially gratifying because the IEPA field inspectors nominate the plants that can be considered. And the evaluation team is a couple of experienced wastewater operators, who come by for a day-long inspection. Being veterans, they know where skeletons might be hidden away (and they check there too!). This is a serious and thorough judging of the facilities.

I’m especially proud of the Northeast Plant’s winning. Here we’re running a mix of facilities from the original plant, started in 1924, plus additions from the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s, and 2010. Blending those components and producing excellent effluent, reliably and safely is a whole lot more complex than walking and chewing gum at the same time. It is more like walking, chewing gum, spinning plates and running a timed obstacle course, all outside in Illinois’ weather, be it 104 degrees and pouring rain, or 0 degrees and a blizzard a couple of months later. Oh yeah, and let’s throw in a pandemic for good measure. You all do it every day and because you are so good at it, you make it look easy.  We get to keep the trophy around for the next 11 months. It will circulate around Northeast Plant.  Congratulations to all of UCSD!


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