MPCA awards Rush City’s wastewater plant operator

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently recognized Ray Benolken, from the city of Rush City, for maintaining a perfect compliance record with their wastewater treatment permit during 2013.

This year, the Rush City wastewater treatment facility was among 128 wastewater facilities statewide to receive this award. The awards were presented at the 77th annual Wastewater Operations Conference March 26 in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Rush City was first recognized in 1979 and has earned an award 11 times since then.

MPCA Municipal Division Director Mark Schmitt had high praise for the award recipients.

“These operators’ continued efforts are paying off and showing real progress in our waters’ health,” Schmitt said. “In 2013, the total amount of phosphorus discharged from wastewater facilities was 663 metric tons, which represents an impressive 12 percent reduction from 2012. Excess phosphorus stimulates algae growth and makes water unsuitable for swimming and fishing.

“These operators work hard every day to protect our waterways and ensure Minnesotans enjoy clean water, and their hard work is proving to be successful,” he added.

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 staff certified by the MPCA in wastewater operations.

About 1,360 municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities are located in Minnesota. Community, institution or treatment plant size was not a factor in awarding the certificates.

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