NARRATIVE: The goals of the Stevens Point Wastewater treatment facility are quite simple. Utilize a 
waste that nobody wants and efficiently recover three valuable resources from it: clean water, a 
nutrient rich fertilizer, and green energy. To successfully reach these goals the City Mayor, Sewer 
Commission, Director, and the facility’s operations staff must work together seamlessly.   

The belief that wastewater professionals are both stewards of the environment and business savvy is 
one that starts before the first day on the job.  This mindset along with a well-rounded education is what 
the management staff looks for during the hiring process.  This approach has led to the last six 
employees hired by the facility having a minimum of a bachelor degree in a wastewater related field.  
Once hired, new operations staff members are introduced to the facility’s operation and efficiency goals 
on their first day.  Goals are then discussed frequently with the entire staff to ensure they are always 
being considered when decisions are made.  Staff members are encouraged to regularly attend off site 
training and utilize the knowledge gained to formulate new ideas to improve the day to day operations 
of the facility.  The entire staff is given the opportunity to take part in every decision as it pertains to day 
to day operations as well as equipment purchases.  This process allows the staff to take ownership in the 
facility and truly make a difference each and every day.  The well-rounded education that the employees 
have when hired along with the training and experience they obtain from working for an industry 
leading facility, makes them prime candidates for high level positions throughout the wastewater field.  
This makes focusing on employee retention and training crucial to achieving the facility’s goals.  The 
Stevens Point Wastewater Treatment Facility is evidence that even good employee empowerment 
programs won’t inhibit good employees from being lost to retirement or higher paying offers.  Over the 
past four years two retirements have occurred and two staff members have left for new opportunities.  
This has led to four of the facility’s six current employees being in their positions for less than five years.   
Yet, during these last five years the facility has continued to improve its treatment efficiency.  This is 
proof that when management places a high priority on training, results can continue to improve.  

 To ensure a seamless transition when a staff member decides to move on, each staff member is trained 
to be proficient in all operations and tasks.  The knowledge gained through this extensive training has 
led the City to historically fill its management staff with internal candidates. Promoting from within 
allows the utility to continue on a steady course and ensure that efficiency continues to play a key role 
in decision making for the foreseeable future.   When internal promotion isn’t possible great care is 
taken in selecting a candidate that has the dedication to reach the facility’s goals. This type of succession 
planning requires the management staff to concentrate on retaining high level employees.  

Having a staff of only 6 people to operate and maintain a 3 MGD facility as well as 15 off site lift stations 
most facilities would be happy to consistently meet their discharge permit limits.  The culture at Stevens 
Point has continuously evolved over the past 15 years to the current approach of how to fully utilize the 
treatment capacity as effectively and efficiently as possible while not sacrificing effluent quality.  
Through this way of thinking the staff has been able to lower their total energy consumption by 22% 
with equipment upgrades and operational changes, while their BOD loadings have increased by 20%.  
Small projects like replacing a 50hp plant air compressor with a more efficient 10hp unit, and upgrading 
their aeration grid from ceramic stones to membrane discs have contributed to a lower energy demand.   

Larger projects such as adding a 44hp submersible pump on a variable frequency drive to add efficiency 
and redundancy for their aging 100hp influent screw pumps, and replacing 20 year old positive 
displacement aeration blowers with new more efficient screw compressors have also had large impacts