The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently recognized Patrick O'Neill and Dr. Donald Hainlen from the city of Chatfield for maintaining a perfect record of compliance with their wastewater treatment permit during 2011. This year, the city of Chatfield was among 126 wastewater facilities statewide to receive this recognition.

The MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen had high praise for the award recipients. "These operators work hard every day to ensure that Minnesotans can enjoy clean water now and in the future. They are at the front line in protecting our streams and lakes, and ultimately, the health of people and businesses that depend on clean water."

To be eligible for the award, facility operators were required to submit all monitoring reports to the MPCA correctly and on time, demonstrate consistent compliance through monitoring or surveys and employ MPCA-certified operators.

The awards were presented at the 75th annual Wastewater Operations Conference in Brooklyn Park. Wastewater treatment facilities were eligible for the award if they submitted all monitoring reports correctly and on time, demonstrated consistent compliance with their permit, and employed staff certified by the MPCA in wastewater operations.

The annual Wastewater Operations Conference brings together wastewater operators from Minnesota for training and professional education. There are about 1,700 wastewater treatment facilities in Minnesota, including municipal, industrial and some privately-operated institutional facilities. The size of the community, institution or treatment plant was not a factor in awarding the certificates of excellence.