By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
It was the 65th year of the New Mexico Water and Wastewater Association (NMWWA) Annual School and this year it came to Hotel Encanto the last week in January 2020.
With vendors and classes galore, utility operators and associates advanced professional development skills, received credit for moving up through certification levels, and shared in the camaraderie of working in a field that keep cities’ drinking water safe and wastewater thoroughly processed.
Filiberto Aguirre, Jr., the 2019 NMWWA President and Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) water line locator, kicked off the Monday afternoon in front of more than 60 people teaching them math. “I’m a regular operator like you,” Aguirre said, “but I just love teaching math.”
Aguirre went over basic algebra, but as it relates to the operators in what they’d see in the field, touching upon topics like pressure and different sizes of pipe. It kicked off different sessions for math that the attendees could then use to help them climb in their water operation level certifications through the New Mexico Environment Department.
The New Mexico Water and Wastewater Association is organized and operates exclusively for scientific and educational purposes on a non-profit basis. First organized in 1956 as the New Mexico Water and Sewage Works Association, in 1958 NMWWA adopted a voluntary operator certification plan as a means of encouraging professional development of its members, and all operators, throughout New Mexico.
Their mission made sure to recognize that through proper operations and routine preventive maintenance of facilities, the useful life of facilities can be extended significantly, and water quality can be improved through operations staff training.
“We encourage our associates to take part in training like the Short School to progress not only in their professional development, but have contact with other operators and see the most up-to-date technology as it starts to make its way into use,” said Adrienne Widmer, P.E., LCU deputy director water.
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
LCU’s Filiberto Aguirre Jr. teaches his peers at the weeklong NMWWA Annual School. Aguirre is a water line locator but is involved with the non-profit to provide professional development to water and wastewater operators throughout New Mexico.
NOTE: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Bulletin.