ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Water Environment Federation (WEF) proudly announces the 2018 WEF Awards recipients for operational and design excellence. These awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the water environment profession.

“The Water Environment Federation is extremely proud to honor these examples of top-of-industry excellence in operations and design,” said Eileen O’Neill, WEF Executive Director.

The 2018 recipients for Operational and Design Excellence Awards are:

Collection Systems Award: James A. Hewitt
The Collection Systems Award is presented to an individual for contributions to the advancement of the state-of-the-art wastewater collection. James A. Hewitt has devoted 30 years to making significant improvements to the collection system in Akron, Ohio, and has provided industry leadership at the local, state, and national levels. He has been a constant environmental steward for the state of Ohio and exudes passion for the work and mission of the water sector. As Akron's city engineer, Hewitt has played an integral role in award-winning projects, and under his leadership, the city’s engineering department is responsible for the design and construction of $1.4 billion in system improvements to meet a consent decree.

Innovative Technology Award: SimuWorks OpTool™-- Hydromantis Environmental Software Solutions, Inc.
This award recognizes WEF Associate Members who have introduced new innovative products or services related to the construction, operation or maintenance of treatment facilities. The SimuWorks-OpTool™ trains operations staff to run a facility and allows users to learn without impacting the environment. This technology eases the training gap that exists when plants undergo major infrastructure changes or large equipment purchases.

Morgan Operational Solutions Award
This award is named in honor of Philip F. Morgan, who served with distinction as professor of sanitary engineering at the State University of Iowa from 1948-1961. This award recognizes valuable contributions to the in-facility study and solution of operational problems.

City of Boise Lander Street Water Renewal Facility Operations and Process Coordination Team. Faced with upgrading its treatment plant to meet increased effluent phosphorus limits, the city staff modified the aeration basin flow patterns to achieve Bio-P removal, shut down phosphorus-reducing chemical addition, set up air addition by hand and without the use of automated valving, and converted a primary clarifier to be used as a fermenter. Because of the bold move from CEPT to Bio-P without major plant capital improvement upgrades, the city achieved the new standards.

Jeffery Mahagan, Town of Hillsborough, N.C. Faced with upgrading its treatment plant to meet increased effluent nitrogen standards, the town developed and modified an in-house computer model to determine how to modify existing reactor zones. The town made the reactor modifications in-house without a major capital improvement project, and flow-paced feed pumps to maintain a specific detention time. The town achieved the new standards without a supplemental carbon source addition and avoided major plant upgrades.

WEF Project Excellence Award
WEF's annual Project Excellence Award pays tribute to excellence and innovation in the execution of projects and programs in the water sector.

Central Pasco County Beneficial Water Reuse Project: 4G Ranch Wetlands
Awardees: Pasco County, Fla., Southwest Florida Water Management District, and Jacobs/CH2M

Pasco County Utilities and Southwest Florida Water Management District recently completed the award-winning Central Pasco County Beneficial Water Reuse Project, known as the 4G Wetlands. This innovative, multifunctional project addresses decade-long concerns regarding groundwater drawdowns in areas affected by public water supply wellfields in southwest Florida and are an important addition to the Pasco County Master Reuse System. The wetlands add a beneficial capability to an already very flexible reuse system and successfully demonstrates an example of a public-private partnership.

The McCook Reservoir
Awardee: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The McCook Reservoir Stage 1 was formally unveiled to provide flood and pollution control to 3.1 million people in the Chicago area. The McCook Reservoir is part of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP). TARP is the Chicago area’s plan for cost-effectively complying with federal and state water quality standards. TARP’s main goals are to protect Lake Michigan – the region’s drinking water supply – from raw sewage pollution; improve water quality of area rivers and streams; and provide an outlet for floodwaters to reduce street and basement sewage backup flooding.

WEF Safety Award: City of Garland (Texas) Wastewater Treatment
This award is presented annually to an industry, municipality, organization, utility, or other entity engaged in the protection of the water environment to recognize the success of their efforts to promote safety and educate the water industry. The Garland Wastewater Treatment Department is dedicated to protecting the waters of Texas while staff striving to ensure a safe and productive work environment. Employees participate in rigorous safety training programs, and the city’s Duck Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant hasn’t had an injury resulting in lost time from work in more than three years.

These awards will be presented during WEFTEC® 2018, the Federation’s 91st Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, September 29 to October 3 in New Orleans. For more information about the WEF Awards, visit


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