Whiting Utilities Staff Honored for Water Treatment System
By Brandi Makuski
“This is our quaint little water treatment facility,” said Nicholas Schmeiser, director of public works for the Village of Whiting.
Schmeiser was at the village’s Elm St. water treatment facility on Nov. 29, looking over Whiting’s five 1200-gallon treatment tanks.
“Two of these need to be replaced,” he said, pointing to some of the 2800-pound tanks used to remove nitrates from the water. “That’ll happen sometime in the spring.”
Schmeiser heads a staff of three who oversee the village’s utilities, parks, streets and public works. The trio operate inside a landlocked village with almost no tax base growth — it means they’ve got to be efficient; they’ve got to be organized; and they’ve got to get it right the first time.
The state took notice, awarding the village 2016 Small Systems Excellence Award by the Wisconsin branch of the American Water Works Association in August.
The award recognizes the “challenges and achievements of small water systems in Wisconsin.” The plaque is on display at Village Hall, 3600 Water Street.
The first well in the village dates back to 1964, Schmeiser said, with a second well added sometime in the 1990s. Water in pumped into the building via large pipes, treated with synthetic resin in one of tanks, then pumped out of the building, nitrate-free.
The village also has cross connections with Plover and Stevens Point, which the Water Works Association referred to a “excellent” and “comprehensive”.
“If for some reason, something happens in Stevens Point, we can use that connection to provide water to the city from Whiting, and vice versa,” Schmeiser said. “And it’s the same with Plover. It’s a nice backup to have, just in case.”
The Village of Whiting has seen its share of difficulties, including the loss of a major water-using industry when New Page Paper Mill closed its doors.
Despite the loss of that major revenue stream, the village’s staff “continue to provide excellent service to its customers,” according to the Water Works Association.
Other metrics by which Whiting was measured against include quality of water produced, compliance with drinking water regulations and code requirements, water system operation and maintenance, water accountability and financial integrity.
“It’s a good honor to be chosen for it,” Schmeiser said. “There’s a lot of contenders who could have been awarded. It means a lot that have someone recognize our work…we’re grateful.”