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President's Message (C Factor)

Thank You for Your Service!
By Mike Darrow
Posted on 11/1/2018 6:30 AM

Happy Veterans Day!


Service to our country and its citizens goes far back in our history. From the beginning of the American Revolution at the battles of Lexington and Concord, military veterans have given there all to protect us and preserve freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


This is a very special issue of the Florida Water Resources Journal, celebrating the service of folks in our industry and the service they gave (and in some cases, are still giving) to our country. This is a wonderful way to celebrate this service to our nation!


The membership of FWPCOA is now over 5300 members statewide. Many of these members are U.S. military veterans and I thank you all! Many are highly involved leaders of FWPCOA. Some members I know of who are veterans and who work very hard for the association are Tom King (Army), Walt Smsyer (Navy), Ken Enlow (Air Force), Ray Bordner (Marines), Phil Donovan (Army), and Brad Haynes (Army). I’m sure there are many others members (who I’m not aware of as I write this) who selflessly serve our association.


I thank you for your service to FWPCOA as well.  Many involved members have carried this same spirit and poured it into the association and our industry, which is commendable.


The veteran spirit of public service, duty, and honor is a great core principle. Many of water and wastewater professionals share some of these same principles by serving the public again for their post-military service careers. These “silent sentinels” on watch over many phases of our industry operate, repair, rebuild, analysis, coordinate, and manage water, wastewater, and stormwater systems day and night in their professional roles. This in another highly respected role, in my opinion, of public service: treating and delivering water to serve their community.


A Little History of Veterans Day


First known as Armistice Day, it was created on Nov. 11, 1919, by a proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson to honor the country’s servicemen who served during World War I. That date wouldn’t become a national holiday until a Congressional Act in 1938 made it so. It would remain a holiday for this select group of soldiers, sailors, and marines until President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that expanded its intention to celebrate the service of servicemen from every American war. It would remain known as Armistice Day for the next 35 years until Congress decided to change its name to Veterans Day on June 1st, 1954. Its name has remained unchanged ever since. 


In 1919, President Wilson commemorated the first Armistice Day with these words:


“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1778 Alexander Hamilton had spoken these words about service:

“There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.”


A Special Day of Honor for All Who Served


Every year, a ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate this holiday. During this time, the President of the United States places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a parade of colors by different organizations. Another tradition that is observed by many American cities is a holiday veteran’s parade that often includes bands, the marching of servicemen and women, speeches, and remembrances. I encourage you all to fly our flag at your home and the facility you work in, and try to attend a local veteran’s ceremony, if you can.


Veterans are all round us all the time in public service and in everyday life.  My father and uncle are Army veterans; my nephew is in the Navy; and my boss, Lynn Spivey, is an Air Force veteran. Fellow operators I work with include David Stevens (Navy), Patrick Lincoln (Army), Henry Clay Bryant (Army), Tom Brown (Army), Brad Mendel (Army), and Mark Woodward (Air Force). I salute you all and thank you for the great job you do!


For many Americans, Veterans Day is a great way to remember the hard work and the service these men and women made to keep the United States free, and it is also a great way to thank them for their service to the country. I’m proud that many of the members of our operators association have served to defend freedom! I thank each and every one of you for your service to our country and to the water/wastewater industry. God Bless America! 


Indirect and Direct Potable Reuse Website Survey Results


Walt Smyser, our webmaster, posted a survey on our FWPCOA website in August to look at the issue of potable reuse. This was in regard to the future water needs for our state. As you know already, water and wastewater are merging in our industry and we’re focusing on the scarcity of water, water availability, and other related issues.


The survey was on both indirect potable reuse (IPR) and direct potable reuse (DPR), the “one water” concept, and reuse of our water. Operators will be key in this new task, as they are now, in operating these facilities. A major issue is going to be the future cost of water, as compared to today. As we move to more concentrated water sources, the cost of treating water will expand. In the near future, as development in the state continues, the demand will far exceed the supply, which is why direct potable and indirect potable water reuse is a good choice.


The 2018 IPR and DPR survey was on the FWPCOA website for 60 days. We had 41 members respond to the survey, who were from different parts of the industry, with the majority of them from the wastewater side.


Some highlights from the survey include:

  • Do you know what IPR is? 68 percent yes, 32percent no
  • Do you know what DPR is? 63 percent yes, 37percent no
  • Are you for using IPR and DPR in the state of Florida? 85percent yes, 15 percent no
  • Should regulations use the current drinking water standards for DPR or more advanced standards?
    • Current drinking water standards: 63 percent
    • Advanced standards: 37 percent


  • What type of treatment license should operate a DPR plant?
    • Dual water/wastewater treatment licensed: 53 percent
    • An endorsement on the existing license: 23 percent
    • A new licensed treatment class: 20 percent
    • Use existing single license for water/wastewater: 18 percent


  • Should there be a new category of treatment plant for DPR?
    • New treatment DPR classification: 60 percent
    • Use current surface water classification: 40 percent


  • Should regulations require IPR/DPR for high-withdrawal or high-demand usage providers?
    • Not required: 68 percent
    • Required: 32 percent


  • Are you looking for new training for these processes?
    • Yes: 53 percent
    • Not at this time: 47 percent


I want to I thank those who took the time out of their busy schedules to answer the survey. This is the beginning of moving forward to the “one water” concept in Florida. We need to educate ourselves and be ready for this. Also we need to educate the public for this future usage of water. The Public Reuse Commission is doing a great job of getting input and education from the all sectors of water and the public to move this discussion forward. I applaud all involved in this effort.


Thank you, and have a great Veteran’s Day!