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Apprentice Operator Program was developed and implemented, with the goal of developing “A” 
certified wastewater plant operators.  Since inception of this program in 2000, over 22 individuals have 
entered the program and over 13 have successfully received their “A” wastewater certifications.  Of our 
current Operations staff, 9 have graduated from this program and 4 are on-track to achieve “A” 
certification.  Other “graduates” have moved to different positions within this facility, moved to other 
facilities and into the regulatory field for career advancement.  This program is so successful, other 
agencies have asked for our “program blueprint” for their own organizations. 

In addition to this development program, several “graduates” of the Apprentice Operator Program have 
continued their career development through participation in local programs designed to prepare them 
for managerial positions. 

Knowledge Management 

In conjunction with this Long Range Master Plan, succession planning plays a vital part in retaining 
institutional knowledge for future workers.  We had a program to address a sustainable pool of plant 
operators, however, we did not have a plan to manage this knowledge, which is about to leave our 
facility.  Plant management recognized the need for an action plan to address capturing this knowledge, 
(the non-tangible capital) of their senior staff, and ‘who’ will operate and maintain the facility through 
this period. 

Innovative Initiatives 

Completion of a major construction project in 2009 incorporated many design features that target 
infrastructure needs and operational sustainability, much with staff contribution: 

Energy Efficiency 

Wastewater treatment can be very energy intensive and process engineering specified energy efficiency 
where applicable.  This was accomplished through the use of variable frequency drives on major pumps 
to allow for controlled pumping and high efficiency motors on new and existing equipment.  Advanced 
blower controls keep the blower system at its peak efficiency.  Since these are the largest motors in the 
plant, saving a few percentage points can really add up.  Electrical design considerations resulted in over 
$100,000 in rebates through an energy efficiency rebate program offered by Xcel Energy.  Energy 
management practices resulted in shifting high-demand loads to off-peak periods to reduce cost and 
shutting off VFD driven equipment not needed for treatment objectives. 

Electrical System Upgrade 

The LEWWTP is supplied electrical feed from two, separate power grids to provide uninterrupted 
electrical supply, utilizing an Automated Throw-Over switch (ATO) on the incoming power supply.  The 
existing main metering pole (downstream of the ATO) was common to both grids and had previously 
failed on many occasions, resulting in significant raw sewage spills.  The in plant electrical distribution 
system was upgraded to provide ATO function at each motor control center, allowing removal of the 
troublesome metering pole, while providing power supply flexibility at each treatment process. 

Process Automation 

Thanks to a modernized data-driven Instrumentation and Control (I&C) system for the facility, control 
guesswork is being eliminated.  Our redesigned, computerized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition 
(SCADA) control system conveys detailed information from every pump and instrument in the plant and 
makes it accessible to operators with just a few mouse clicks.  The utility’s I&C system is part of a major