KRWA 2022 Annual Conference and Exhibition Highlights

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On August 29 through 31, 2022, representatives of Kentucky’s public drinking water and wastewater utilities gathered for Kentucky Rural Water Association’s (KRWA) 43rd Annual Conference and Exhibition held in Lexington, Kentucky at the Central Bank Center. Over 800 utility professionals gained valuable insight from industry experts during the conference as we discussed how “Our Future is BRIGHT.”  Attendees also enjoyed networking with peers, and touring Kentucky’s largest exhibition of products and services available to public utilities. Monday’s activities began with the KRWA Golf Tournament at beautiful Kearney Hill Golf Links. Training sessions also began for water and wastewater personnel. Kentucky Operator Certification and Licensing Branch once again conducted a Wastewater Treatment Certification Class in conjunction with the KRWA conference. 

KRWA presented Combined Water and Wastewater Training for continuing education throughout the day. Those sessions included:

Session #1: Customizing Technology to Meet Everyday Operations & Compliance Challenges

Session #2: PFAS in Water & Wastewater

Session #3: World Class Lubrication Program

Session #4: Solar Energy Storage and Demand Shaving: Optimizing the Design and Understanding the Financial Benefits for Utilities

Session #5: GIS for Water & Wastewater Utilities

Session #6: Proposed Mobile Water Treatment System for Emergency Response in Kentucky

Monday concluded with the opening of our exhibit hall and the President’s Reception. Over 100 exhibitors displayed the latest in industry technology, products and services. Congratulations to Lewis Municipal Sales as this year’s Best Display award recipient! 

Tuesday morning’s Kick-Off Breakfast included ten drinking water and wastewater utilities recognized as Wooden Bucket finalists and honored for their outstanding service during the past year. Receiving plaques of appreciation from Dr. Thomas Carew, State Director, USDA-Rural Development, this year’s honorees included: Allen County Water District; Daviess County Water District; Princeton Water & Wastewater; Springfield Water & Sewer; Marion County Water District; North Mercer Water District; Estill County Water District; Morgan County Water District; Wood Creek Water District; and City of Stanford.

Five members of the KRWA staff were recognized for their dedication and service to Kentucky Rural Water Association.  Those recognized for reaching a milestone period of service included Jason Pennell for five years; Tim Blanton for fifteen years; Matt Glass for twenty years; Dell Harris, for twenty-five years; and Clem Wethington for thirty-five years. 

KRWA’s Annual Business Meeting was held following the breakfast. William Ballard, East Clark County Water District; Roger Colburn, North Marshall Water District; and David Peterson, Caveland Environment Authority, Inc. were re-elected to the KRWA Board of Directors. The following board members will serve as officers in 2022/2023:

President Russ Rose, Oldham Co. Water District

Vice President Roger Colburn, North Marshall Water District

Secretary  Christina O’Bryan, Daviess Co. Water District

Treasurer  David Peterson, Caveland Environmental Authority

The exhibit hall remained open until 1:00 p.m. for attendees to enjoy and concluded with the Exhibitor’s Luncheon. 

Tuesday afternoon’s training kicked off the afternoon with three concurrent sessions:  

Concurrent A included: Cellular AMI-Unidirectional Flushing Best Practices; Revised Lead and Copper Rule Update; and Catch Leaks Before They Catch You.

Concurrent B included: PFAS Considerations for Wastewater Professionals; Risk Assessment for Underground Vaults; and Trenchless Sewer Main Repair.

Concurrent C included: Kentucky Workforce Survey Results; PSC Requirements for Construction and Debt Issuance; and Sexual Harassment and Respectful Workplace Training.

The Member Appreciation Reception, WaterPac Raffle and Best Tasting Water Contest concluded the day’s activities. A panel of five judges from various sectors of the water and wastewater industry took part in the taste testing and included: J. D. Chaney, Kentucky League of Cities; Ronnie Eaton, Layne – A Granite Company; Jason Shelton, Hawkins Water Treatment Group; Donna McNeil, Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (UK); and Chip Wilkins, Lawton Insurance. The judges found Monroe County Water District as having the most appealing water sample, second place was awarded to Hardin County Water District #1, with third place going to Somerset Utilities. 

$4,800 was raised for WaterPac during this year’s conference! WaterPac is a separate, segregated fund established by the National Rural Water Association that enables individuals to collectively support candidates for Congress who share our interests in the success of water and wastewater utilities. This joint effort provides a stronger voice for association concerns.  

Wednesday morning began with the General Session featuring Russ Rose, President, Kentucky Rural Water Association; David Peterson, Executive Board for National Rural Water Association and CEO, Caveland Environmental Authority; and David Baird, President, National Rural Water Association, discussing challenges and changes impacting utilities and how Kentucky utilities have persevered through hardships brought about during the last few years. Continuing the morning session, Sandra Dunahoo, Consultant, Nesbitt Engineering, spoke on 7 Simple Secrets to Project Success. Damon Talley, Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC, gave an update on Legislative issues. Kent Chandler, Chairman, Kentucky Public Service Commission, discussed PSC Utility Regulatory Issues – Update; Sandy Williams, Deputy Executive Director, Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, reviewed Funding Opportunities though KIA; and, House Speaker, David Osborne, Kentucky House of Representatives, wrapped up Wednesday’s sessions with Our Future is Bright-A Legislative Update. 

KRWA recognized House Speaker David Osborne with a “Friend of Rural Water” award for his commitment, leadership and dedication to rural Kentucky. This award is presented to someone who is true friend and partner with water and wastewater utilities in Kentucky. Representative Osborne has been instrumental in assistance for many water and wastewater utility environmental projects, improving the public health and quality of life of rural Kentuckians.

The 43rd KRWA Conference concluded with the annual Awards Luncheon and the popular door prize drawings! The luncheon featured the Wooden Bucket Award presentation with the 2022 award presented to Daviess County Water District for their substantial and lasting improvements in providing high levels of customer service and high-quality drinking water to their community. Brent Wigginton, Water Manager for Daviess County Water District, stated that they are very grateful to the Kentucky Rural Water Association for the honor of being selected as the recipients of the 2022 Wooden Bucket award.  Wigginton continued, “It is a team effort to receive an award such as the Wooden Bucket Award.   Daviess County Water District has an absolutely great staff from the office to field operations and all credit is due to them!  The water district board members also work diligently to provide the needed financial support to achieve the goals we set for the water district.   We would also like to thank the Daviess County Fiscal Court and all our elected officials who strive daily to provide the funding needed to continue to improve the Daviess County Water District.” Congratulations to Daviess County Water District for this outstanding achievement!

KRWA wishes to give special thanks to all our Corporate Partners and Sponsors who made this year’s event such a great success! 

Mark Your Calendars! Next year’s conference will be held at the Galt House Hotel & Suites in Louisville, Kentucky, August 28-30, 2023!