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President's Message (C Factor)

Your Region Needs You!
By Mike Darrow
Posted on 8/3/2018 6:50 AM

As you know, the last two letters of FWPCOA stand for “operators association.” We’re a unique organization divided into 13 regions around the wonderful state of Florida.  I’ve been a member of Region X for a lot of years now. I enjoy hearing about what’s going on in our industry and how the association can make a better future for our members, and it’s gratifying to know that FWPCOA is again growing in membership.


Recently, I attended meetings in both Region VII and Region X. They were good meetings and I learned quite a few things at each of them. But one thing is clear to me: your region needs your ideas, skills, help, and professionalism in the discipline that you work in, whether you’re just starting out on your career path or are a seasoned veteran.  


Get Involved


When most regions meet, the attendees discuss current issues relevant to our trade to help train operators, technicians, and coordinators as they advance in there careers. At the regional level, industry professionals and vendors get together to share ideas and network to help advance their own education and help their workplaces be more efficient, professional, and effective. 


We need to be better at passing the torch on what we have learned in our industry. This is something that you can participate in. Attending a local meeting is a good start. At the meeting you can share your thoughts on:

  • What types and disciplines should be taught locally? You can then participate to find resources to put the classes on. This will help strengthen our skills and the tools of our trade.
  • What kind of continuing education unit (CEU) courses would be helpful to the regional membership? Some regions have opening for officers and trustees right now, so you can plug in, participate, and determine the courses needed.


One of our goals at FWPCOA is to protect the public health and the environment of our great state; to work on behalf of operators of all types, technicians, coordinators, and those in other disciplines by training them and making the work tasks more professional and represent operators as a whole to the state. I ask you to please bring these types of ideas to the meetings to share.


Another observation I have is that regions are in need of trainers or instructors to help teach at classes locally or at short schools, and one day, at CEU classes. Your profession is in need of teachers for voluntary certification classes like industrial pretreatment, stormwater, wastewater collection, water distribution, water reclamation distribution, and customer service. If you are interested, it could really make a different to a person getting started in our profession. If interested, Fill out the “instructor biographical form” available at our website at and send it to the training office at to get started. Each member has a login for our website; if you need help with your password contact our webmaster, Walt Smyser, at


The regional level is also a great place where you can socialize. Maybe this is what you like to do—then you can get involved here, too. The regions set up social and fun events like fishing tournaments, golf outings, family picnics, baseball games, and Christmas parties! Most of the training put on throughout the year by the regions help pay for the social events in that region. We have a lot in common, so why not get together to share your thoughts on our profession and have some fun! 


Indirect and Direct Potable Reuse Survey on FWPCOA Website


Future water supply needs and new technology for water and wastewater are merging in a new area for our industry: direct potable reuse. This is helping to close the gap on the “one water” concept, focusing on the recycling and reuse of this precious resource. Operators will have a key role in this task—as they do now—in operating water facilities.


The scarcity of water, its varying availability, and the cost to treat potable water is driving this issue. In the near future, as development continues in our state and elsewhere, the demand will far exceed supply. This is why potable and indirect potable water reuse is a good choice. When the good, less-expensive-to-treat water is gone, or allocated to other sources, options for supply will be limited. Why not recycle water to high quality and reuse it for years to come?


As we know, water is extremely hard to create—two combustible gases mixing to form H2O!  This means the water we have today is water from eons and eons ago. Water has three forms: liquid, gas, and solid. The liquid kind—drinkable water—is becoming harder to find in some regions of the world. Most of our water of course is saltwater, and much of the water around the world is polluted, so it’s our job every day is to remove the contaminants and make it safe to use again and again.


The future of water reuse is here. Rules and guidelines are now being determined by a state commission to figure out a path for the industry to follow.  At some point, operators and technicians should get involved in this process, so I encourage you to get involved with your local utility, or at any level in the state regulatory process, and get in on the conversation.


I had the pleasure of making a presentation at the Potable Reuse Commission in June, providing information about how the operators, mechanics, technicians, and coordinators in the industry will work in our great state to help furnish future supplies of water. Many of us have been involved for years in water reclamation, and reuse is just the next level of advanced treatment.


We need your ideas and thoughts on the subject. Please participate in the survey online on our website and provide the input that will affect your own future.


Thank you for your involvement in our regions and your input on the survey—and remember to go with the flow!