The City of Fremont received awards for its water supply, wastewater treatment plant and staff at the 2018 Nebraska American Water Works Association Conference in Kearney last week.
Fremont received high praise for its drinking water, being voted Best-Tasting Treated Water out of 16 submissions from across the state.
According to information released by the city, Fremont’s water comes from the alluvial sands of the Dakota Aquifer and is treated with chlorine and fluoride—while polyphosphate is added to help control iron and manganese.
Fremont last received the Best-Tasting Treated Water award in 2013.
The city was also awarded the Silver Safety Award and the 2018 Scott Wilber Outstanding Facility Award for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
“(The Silver Safety Award) is a big pat on the back for the employees that work here—they take their jobs seriously and take safety seriously,” Superintendent of Water and Wastewater for Fremont Keith Kontor said. “That’s the number one goal is to have a safe working place and make sure everyone goes home at night.”
The Scott Wilber Awards Committee of the Nebraska Water Environment Association (NWEA) recognizes exemplary operations and maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities in the State of Nebraska.
The award is named after Scott Wilber, a wastewater facility operator who worked for the City of Omaha and routinely exceeded operations and maintenance expectations to ensure his facility remained in compliance.
“We have a unique plant where we have a large industrial load, so operations there are really unique and make it difficult to test and treat,” Kontor said. “But our guys do a great job, and they deserve all the credit for the recognition.”
The final award was presented to Kontor who was honored with the Water Environment Federation Arthur Sidney Bedell Award in acknowledgment of extraordinary personal service to a member association by the Nebraska Water Environment Association.
Kontor was unaware that he had been nominated for the award—so when the emcee inquired if anyone in the room was born on Jan. 19, 1963—he started to get suspicious.
“I was looking around to see who else could have my birthday, and then when my family came into the room I realized what was really going on,” he said.
The Bedell Award was established to acknowledge extraordinary personal service to a Water Environment Federation (WEF) Member Association.
The award is named for Arthur Sidney Bedell, WEF’s second president for his long devotion and service to the New York Sewage and Industrial Wastes Association, now the New York Water Environment Association. He was Chief of the Bureau of Sewage and Waste Disposal of the New York State Department of Health.
“It’s voted on by your peers which makes it that much more special to be recognized,” Kontor said of the honor.