SIUE’s ERTC Wins Governor’s Sustainability Award
The Environmental Resources Training Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has received the Governor’s Sustainability Award for significant achievements in protecting the environment, helping sustain the future and improving the state’s economy.
The Center was among the 24 Illinois institutions, organizations and companies honored at a ceremony in Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 23. The award is presented annually by the Illinois Sustainability Technology Center (ISTC), a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.
“Investing in sustainability creates jobs, boosts our economy and is an investment in our future,” said Gov. Pat Quinn. “These awards foster innovation and encourage universities and businesses to help us build a stronger, greener Illinois.”
ERTC received the award for its 40-year commitment to the sustainability and protection of the waters of Illinois. The center was designed and built for the sole purpose of training drinking water supply and wastewater reclamation plant operators.
“The treatment plant operator is an integral part of the water use cycle in the U.S.,” said Paul Shetley, ERTC director, who was joined by Operations Director Kim Bateman to receive the award. “The water operator supplies clean reliable water to households throughout the nation.
“The wastewater plant operator discharges clean, sanitary waters back into the nation’s waterways. By virtually eliminating water borne pathogens, these operators save more lives than medical doctors.”
ERTC is one of the most unique training centers in the nation. 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. An example of the training impact that ERTC has on the water profession can be measured in the statistics from Fiscal Year 2013, when it trained more than 975 students and awarded more than 25,000 continuing education and contact hours.
In 2011, ERTC expanded its commitment to sustainability by completing its Alternative Energy Project. During the project, the Center installed 144 solar panels and a 120-foot tall wind turbine. Since their installation, the alternative energy project has generated more than 175,000 kilowatts of electricity and has saved the University more than $12,000 in energy costs.
To meet the important 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. For more information of the ERTC visit their website.