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Posted on: April 24, 2018

Athens employee named Treatment Plant Operator of the Year

Virgil White

The superintendent of the award-winning city of Athens Wastewater Treatment Plant recently received recognition as Alabama Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year.

Virgil White received the 2018 Hatfield Award for Operator of the Year from the Alabama Water Environment Association.

“We are pleased that Mr. White is being recognized by peers from across the state for his excellent work,” said Athens Utilities Water/Wastewater Manager Frank Eskridge. “We are fortunate to have someone of Mr. White’s caliber on our staff.”

The association presents the Hatfield Award to operators of wastewater treatment plants for outstanding performance and professionalism. The award honors Dr. William D. Hatfield, superintendent of the Decatur, Ill., Sanitary District, who was president of the Central States Sewage Works Association in 1944-45.

“We have been blessed at the Athens Wastewater Treatment Plant over the past few years and have won several awards for our operational efforts,” White said. “Receiving the Hatfield Award was a complete surprise.”

White said the recognition highlights the City of Athens for improving infrastructure throughout the Water Services Department, and the operational staff for meeting goals and continuing to enhance the city through the betterment of the department. White said the city, from the public to the council and mayor, have supported the efforts of former manager John Stockton and current manager Frank Eskridge toward improvements. 

“We have above average operations and maintenance staffing throughout our department, and will do our best to continue to train and learn more on a daily basis in order to protect the health and well-being of our citizens and our environment,” White said.

Since 2014, the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant has received awards for Best Operated Plant and Award of Excellence for its size category. The city’s plant can treat up to 9 million gallons per day. The average flow is 4.5 million gallons a day.

“Most people do not think about treating wastewater or the regulations we have to follow and the science behind operating the plant,” Athens Mayor Marks said. “It is an outstanding accomplishment for Mr. White for the industry to recognize how dedicated he and his staff are about operating the plant in a safe and efficient manner.”

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