CSWEA President’s Message


By definition, President is an official chosen to preside over an assembly.  Just thinking about the vast responsibility that this position holds causes me to hyperventilate, reminding me to do my deep cleansing breaths IN and OUT.

I realize that I have been ensconced in this organization since 1991, so some of the challenges are removed just from constantly being involved and knowing how the organization runs. Dedicated, intelligent, forward thinking are a few of the words I can use to define this wonderful group of individuals.

In the 1970’s wastewater treatment plants were tasked with cleaning the receiving streams by the Clean Water Act .

Then a shift away from wastewater to water reclamation occurred.

As I reflect on this I remember that when I was growing up on the farm, Mom would start with the whites and end with the dirty chore clothes when doing laundry. The water would be saved in a “suds tub” and reused throughout the cycle and then reused again for the next load. We also had a shed that we used to collect all different colored glass bottles, cleaned and de-labelled cans and newspaper, which we would recycle in town. We reused some of the newspaper to clean windows, I really don’t remember having paper towels or paper plates; I do remember cutting up old clothes and using them as rags or making rugs. We saved all our food waste in a bucket under the sink and would feed it to the pigs, usually my job. We had a wind mill and water was used sparingly. The livestock received first dibs on the water, we washed our car (yes- singular) only if going to a wedding or big event. There were nine of us and I can remember the four youngest (me as the baby) would all use the same bath water. (Which promoted quick baths or the last few had freezing water.)

Now as the world faces a shortage of potable water we are tasked with being “Utilities of the Future.” Cleaning the water, reusing and reclaiming nutrients, and producing energy via wind turbines, solar panels or combine heat and power engines. As WEF puts it, “Intensification of Resource Recovery”.

So as we move to the “Intensification of Resource Recovery”, I believe we shouldn’t just rely on others, but start at home and do all we can to protect and preserve our resources while using technology to help reclaim and reuse those that we can.

Best wishes, and here’s to a great year together,

-Sue Baert-

Mission Statement

To provide a Water Environment Federation (WEF) organization (Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin) offering multiple opportunities for the exchange of water quality knowledge and experiences among its members and the public and to foster a greater awareness of water quality achievements and challenges.

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