John Van Arsdel
Greetings to all my fellow ISAWWA members. Yes… winter is
here and another new year has been ushered in. It is during this time that we
see changes, not just in the weather but also in ourselves. Interestingly
enough, life is what happens while you plan for your life. The same happens in
the world of water.
Recently, my water heater began indicating it was on its
last couple of gurgles, so I decided to take a pre-emptive strike and change it
out before my wife told me it had died. On Christmas Day, I was blessed with
having to clean the major drain lines leaving my house. I got a great personal
close up view of the "Total Water Concept” very quickly, in a matter of a few
short days. My furnace decided after that to give an additional small measure
of grief on the Sunday before the New Year with an igniter going out (yep… a
$20 part that the big box hardware stores don’t carry) so a call to a local
furnace guru had to be made on a chilly Sunday.
In the world of water we are challenged with making
decisions that impact lives every day. Disaster preparedness is one of the many
issues that have to be dealt with. My personal experiences, as mentioned above,
despite having a pre-emptive action for the water heater, knowing what to do
with a main drain issue, and having quick access to get a $20 part replaced even
at a premium call out labor price, is nothing compared to what others recently
had to deal with in Washington, Illinois and other locations when a tornado
forever changed the lives of many in the matter of a few seconds. I did think
of these folks while I dealt with my small troublesome issues. I never complained, moaned, or even cursed my
luck. You see, life happens while you are planning for your life. It can change
so fast with lasting results. My heart goes out to those who lost so much.
The Total Water Concept will be
demonstrated in March at our WATERCON ’14. Here we will be providing the
largest annual water conference in the State of Illinois. The joint conference
will have a myriad of sessions to attend for continuing education, as well as
the expanded exhibitions. There will be plenty of opportunities to network with
other water professionals, watch or participate in water events testing the
knowledge of operators and managers alike. Bring some money to be able to
participate in the Water for People Silent Auction as well as the cash rich
50/50 raffles. Several hundred dollars could very easily find you! Attendance
at this event should be a goal of any water/waste water professional. The
benefits of attendance will provide plenty of incentives to continue attending
year after year. Please join us for a great experience that you will surely
This has been a time for me to reflect a
bit on what the ISAWWA has accomplished in the past year.
We adopted a strategic
plan setting some ambitious goals for the organization. Those plans include the
Total Water Concept much in line with the AWWA Association.
- All the committees have
set new goals and objectives.
- Membership levels have
been holding above the national averages.
- Water for People has
been revitalized, with Dennis Ross taking the reins. When Dennis asks for help, please give.
- The Education Committee
has set a full schedule of classes and sessions for operators.
- The Water Efficiency
Committee has set up the Water Efficiency Award.
- The Distribution
Committee has outgrown their 1-day conference location and will have this
year’s daylong event at a new location.
- The Source Water
Committee assembled a response to the proposed IDNR Fracking rules.
- Northern Illinois
University Students completed their study of our Section and provided some new
concepts on how to better push the ISAWWA message. This was a huge effort!
- MAC Committee is continuing
to do a bang up job with WATERCON.
I know I missed a lot of other items. We
have a well-oiled machine that operates very efficiently with our staff. With their help there will be plenty of new
opportunities in ’14 for everyone to be part of. Some of those include:
- Assistance with party
planning for our own John Donahue who will take the office of AWWA President in
Boston at ACE ’14.
- Planning for ACE ’16 in
- Participation in any of
the many committees that we have. Please do not hesitate to join in. These
committees do a lot of work but have a lot of fun doing it.
- Distribution Committee
will have their one day event.
- T-CON will show everyone
how to take full advantage of technology.
- Water for People will
bring back their golf outing.
- Possible changes in the
District Trustees. I will let Chris Ulm talk about that in his column.
It seems that the year has raced by so
fast. I know that as I reflect on the "lessons learned” for the year, I can
certainly be thankful for the full support of the Board, the professional
staff, and especially the membership. Without the membership, we would not have
anything. I have been truly blessed to be able to have served as Chair for such
a great group of talented water professionals. You folks really need to
understand just how great you really are. Lots of you consider yourselves to be
"ordinary folks”. If that is the case, we have so many ordinary folks doing
extraordinary tasks every day, treating water, delivering water, and collecting
and treating waste water. What a great "Total Water Concept”!
year promises to have great potential. Please become active in our