Owatonna Public Utilities (OPU) was recognized for its exceptional commitment to protecting the community’s drinking water source. OPU’s Myron Volker, Waterworks Operator, Brian Clausen, Water Design Engineer, and Roger Noble, Waterworks Operator were presented a certificate signed by Governor Mark Dayton at the OPU facility on September 13, 2016.

In a letter to the utility, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger commended OPU. “The partnerships you have built and the stakeholders you have engaged to secure the long-term protection of the drinking water source for the city of Owatonna will serve the community for years to come,” he said.

OPU has engaged in many ways to manage and eliminate potential sources of contamination to the drinking water. They raised two city wells above the 100-year floodplain and dedicated significant funds to sealing unused city wells. OPU has been a leader in the state and a mentor to many other communities in backflow protection and cross connections. Waterworks Operator Myron Volker served as the 2005 Chair of the Minnesota American Water Works Association Section and has planned water operator trainings on source water protection.

The Source Water Protection Awards are granted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA). MDH and MRWA work with public water suppliers to develop and implement protection plans for their drinking water source. The plans include efforts to prevent contamination of the drinking water source. Prevention is used as the first step in protecting public health, and is increasingly important as Minnesota faces threats to water quality. OPU is one of 484 public water suppliers in the state currently implementing protection plans.

Presentation of the award came just days before “Imagine a Day Without Water” on Sept. 15, a national day of action to educate public officials and engage citizens about the essential role water plays in the lives of everyone. More on “Imagine a Day Without Water,” can be found at http://imagineadaywithoutwater.org/

Receiving the award for OPU are (from left to right) Roger Warehime, Director, Operations & Public Relations; Myron Volker, Water Works Operator; Brian Clausen, Water Design Engineer; Roger Noble, Water Works Operator; and, Ronnie Johnson, Director, Engineering.

MDH Award2