EPA Water Chief Visits Green Bay Water Utilities, Highlights Workers and Public Health
Green Bay, Wis. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water David Ross visited water utilities in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he recognized the important work of drinking water and wastewater operators who ensure that clean and safe water is consistently provided to the public.
“As summer begins, water utility operators in Green Bay and across the country are working tirelessly to provide clean and safe water for drinking and recreation,” said EPA Assistant Administrator David Ross. “The great work of these everyday environmental heroes protects public health and the environment and ensures that the rest of us can enjoy our favorite summer activities.”
Assistant Administrator Ross was joined at this event by Nancy Quirk, general manager of Green Bay Water Utility; Tom Sigmund, executive director of NEW Water, the brand of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District; and Kurt Thiede, chief of staff for EPA Region 5.
“We are grateful to David Ross for recognizing Green Bay drinking water by visiting our utility. Our mission is to provide an adequate supply of high-quality drinking water at a reasonable cost to our customers, and our vision is to be a leader in the drinking water industry,” said Quirk. “We look to water professionals like David Ross at the EPA to recognize our aging workforce, infrastructure issues, water quality and threats—like invasive species—to our source water.”
Assistant Administrator Ross kicked off the event by visiting the workforce of Green Bay Water Utility and NEW Water, where he highlighted the importance of recruiting and training the next generation of water utility operators. Because approximately one-third of drinking water and wastewater utility operators will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years, EPA is collaborating with its federal and industry partners to promote innovative programs and resources that help utilities attract and maintain a qualified and diverse water sector workforce. EPA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide information on water careers to disabled veterans and with the U.S. Department of Labor to promote tools utilities can use to set up apprentice programs. Supporting this vital workforce ensures that American families and businesses can continue counting on clean, reliable water services.
Following the visit, Assistant Administrator Ross held a press conference with officials from Green Bay Water Utilities and NEW Water. The assistant administrator touted the EPA’s support for clean water infrastructure, including projects that reduce lead exposure and efforts to reduce excess nutrients deposited in lakes and streams by stormwater runoff. He also emphasized the agency’s multi-pronged approach to addressing excess nutrients, including support for novel market-based approaches and innovative financing options.
“We appreciate the support of the EPA to help protect our most valuable resource, water. It is through collaboration with national and regional partners like the Green Bay Water Utility that we can solve the complex water issues facing our communities,” said Sigmund.