A Pasco water treatment plant operator has been named best in the state for ensuring city customers have safe and reliable water.
Bill Maxwell took the “Operator of the Year” title in advance of National Drinking Water Week, which runs from May 7 to 13.
The operator and water quality specialist with the city of Pasco was selected by the state Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water.
He is one of five people, along with a water district, being given awards for either owning or operating a water system.
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“Bill’s dedication to the Pasco community by helping provide award-winning drinking water is a testament to not only his commitment to service, but another great example of what our public employees do every day for our communities,” said Pasco City Manager Dave Zabell.
The plant operator will be recognized during Monday’s Pasco council meeting at City Hall, 525 N. Third Ave. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
The health department, in honoring Maxwell, described him as a great role model and educator, and committed to expertise in water treatment and quality.
Spokeswoman Elizabeth Hyde noted how water is vital to people, industry and agriculture, and it takes work to ensure the water coming out of faucets is safe.
Maxwell “uses his knowledge and skill to assist other water systems, as well as further the education and growth of other operators and field staff,” Hyde said in a news release. “Bill has also coordinated school field trips and successfully engaged second graders, getting them excited about the importance of water treatment — no small feat.”
Pasco flouridates its city water, a controversial decision that was approved more than 18 years ago.
In March 2016, the city's water placed second out of seven areas entered in a regional contest for the American Water Works Association. The city also was recognized at the time by the Office of Drinking Water for the Butterfield Water Treatment Plant meeting all “optimization program criteria for the last 15 years.”
Maxwell then said it is a team effort to produce the best water possible in Pasco, and that he shouldn’t receive all of the credit for making the city’s water healthy and aesthetically pleasing.