The current availability of high quality drinking water in the United States is very scarce. Water utilities are forced to use ground water and surface water sources that were previously not even under consideration. Today's water treatment is accomplished with fewer chemicals and provides better protection against pathogens, despite stricter certification. With improvements to conventional water treament taking place as new technologies are constantly developed, the current state of regulation challenges the water industry to provide larger amounts of safe drinking water to its customers. The demand for good tasting, clean water at the lowest possible cost is the goal for every water industry today. To this end the water utilities across the country are in dire need of many qualified, dedicated, and capable water treatment operators. This will insure potable and palatable water for the foreseeable future. Failure to do so would be disastrous. The Water and People Course is a first step in identifying and training future treatment plant operators, so safe clean water can continue to be provided to the public.
The Water Industry in general will be experiencing a 40% “brain drain” within the next five years. The State of Connecticut currently has 1020 Certified distribution and treatment operators registered within the state. Within the next five years 40% or 432 will be retiring!! That represents an acute problem within our industry and we feel there is desperate need to address this increasingly growing dilemma.
The Connecticut Section of the American Water Works Association is embarking on a new and exciting initiative. The process began well over a year and a half ago when then Section Chair of the CT Section, David Kuzminski met with Portland Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sally Doyen and proposed the idea of a high school course which would expose students to careers within the water industry. David has worked with the Portland School system for many years, as the Co-Coordinator of the Town Tech Educational Partnership Program, a program developed in early 1990 which gives high school students real life projects in partnership with town government. The Town Tech Program has had a relationship with the Connecticut Section over the last ten years since they developed the first CT Section web site. Since then the Town Tech Educational Partnership has been maintaining the Section’s web site.