Rick Lallish, program director of Water Pollution Control at the Environmental Resources Training Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, has been named by the Illinois Association of Water Pollution Control Operators as its Outstanding Operator of the Year. Lallish received the honor during the IAWPCO’s annual conference in mid-April, where he also was named the new IAWPCO president.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Division of Water Pollution Control, Field Operations Section nominated Lallish. Inspection teams comprised of IAWPCO representatives chose the winner among a field of five nominees.
The award emphasizes the relationship between adequate wastewater treatment and clean receiving waters and is presented as public recognition and encouragement for those individuals who have operated their wastewater treatment facilities in an especially effective manner.
“This award is the most prestigious honor an Illinois Water Pollution Control Operator can achieve, and it is incredibly humbling,” said Lallish. “I am honored to see my name beside those who were recognized before me.”
A Greenville native, Lallish joined SIUE in 2008 and resides in Highland. His one-year term as IAWPCO president will run through April 2019.
“My first accomplishment, immediately upon my presidency, was to level the field for the Plant of the Year awards,” Lallish explained. “I restructured the four levels so smaller towns will no longer have to compete with super-sized plants. This was unanimously passed and will be reflected in the next nominations.”
According to Lallish, another of his many goals as president is to bring younger talent into the profession, as many current operators are nearing retirement.
About the Environmental Resources Training Center
ERTC has been training water quality professionals since 1977. The instructors use its 30,000-gallon per day training-scale drinking water and wastewater treatment plant to teach students the skills needed to properly operate a plant.
To meet the need for trained operators, ERTC annually provides up to 30 graduates from its Water Quality Control Operations Program. These graduates are skilled operators and most possess their state certifications. The placement rate for graduates ranges from 70-80 percent.
PHOTO: Rick Lallish, right, program director of Water Pollution Control at the Environmental Resources Training Center at SIUE, was honored by the Illinois Association of Water Pollution Control Operators as its Outstanding Operator of the Year. Presenting the award is 2017 IAWPCO President Josh Stevens.