Nov 19, 2021

America’s Unsung Heroes: Video Celebrates America’s Water Treatment Supervisors

People come together to form communities for many reasons, but the one thing they all need, from Key West, Florida, to Utqiaġvik, Alaska, and everywhere in between, is clean water. 

american flag

To our country’s 300 million citizens, 19,495 towns and cities, and its 32.5 million businesses, clean water is central to our way of life and to building a growing and prosperous country. 

People come together to form communities for many reasons, but the one thing they all need, from Key West, Florida, to Utqiaġvik, Alaska, and everywhere in between, is clean water. 

Unfortunately, many Americans don’t think twice about their water. It’s fair to say that the average American wakes up and sips a cup of coffee or gulps down a glass of water and rarely wonders about the technology that goes into making that water available, or the people - possibly a neighbor - who oversees the process of making sure that water is safe to drink. 

That’s where a new video, “A Drop of Respect: North America’s Water Treatment Professionals,” by Ulteig, an engineering firm based in Fargo with 13 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, comes in. This short video celebrates water treatment professionals who work tirelessly across our nation, in small towns and big cities. These professionals bear a special responsibility to their communities, dutifully ensuring the water and wastewater systems in their communities are working at full capacity. They rigorously treat, monitor and test the water in their communities – so millions of Americans can trust, without a second thought, the quality of their water.

The video glimpses into the lives of two water superintendents in northern Minnesota who are responsible for maintaining the water systems for two small towns, Winger, population 192, and Menahga, population 1,068.

Like thousands of other water treatment professionals across the U.S., Ron Locken, water superintendent for Winger, and Ron Yliniemi, water superintendent for Menahga, quietly take care of their town’s water with little acknowledgement or fanfare.

“I think a lot of Americans take their water for granted until we experience a drought, for example,” said Aaron Lauinger, Ulteig’s Market Director for the Water and Wastewater Lifeline Sector. “And we’re reminded how important water is to our lives, our communities and to our states.”

“To me, water operators like Ron Locken and Ron Yliniemi are heroes,” added Lauinger. “That’s what this video is really about. Water treatment professionals like Locken and Yliniemi not only keep our water safe, they make sure we have the water our towns need to fight fires, grow businesses, and run institutions such as schools and hospitals. They really are heroes and they are essential to America’s success.”

The video comes out at a time when many municipal water operations are dealing with a number of challenges, from securing funding to replace aging water infrastructure to accessing water from dwindling resources. Winger and Menahga, Minnesota, represent two towns among thousands that found the funding to upgrade their water systems. The citizens in their towns chose to invest in quality water infrastructure and give their water superintendents the tools and resources to maintain the quality and safety of their towns’ water supplies. 

Looking toward the future, municipal, county, state and federal governments need to recognize not only the value of clean water and effective wastewater treatment systems to their towns and cities, but the people who make it so. Giving America’s water and wastewater treatment professionals the tools they need is a way to honor these everyday heroes that our country depends upon.

Editor’s note: To watch the video, “A Drop of Respect: North America’s Water Treatment Professionals,” visit Ulteig.com.

About the author

Stephen Dupont is vice president of public relations for Pocket Hercules. Dupont can be reached at [email protected]

expand_less