The royal treatment: Improving wastewater engineering

Posted on 01. Sep, 2010 by in Academic Departments, Annual Report, Engineering Professional Development, Issues

EPD program directors

The Badger Mill Creek Cascade Aerator is an innovative project owned and operated by the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and draws on treated water from the nine Springs Wastewater Treatment Plant. Constructed in 1998, the aerator helps to restore the natural balance of surface waters in the region. Photo: David Nevala.

We don’t often think about it, but in our homes, workplaces and communities, each of us typically uses more than 100 gallons of clean water each day,” says Engineering Professional Development Faculty Associate Ned Paschke.

Ned Paschke

Ned Paschke

Finding that water, treating it, delivering it, collecting the used wastewater, cleaning that, and returning it safely to the environment requires an extensive network of public infrastructure. “It’s hard to imagine a more beneficial investment for public health and the environment,” says Paschke.

Paschke spent much of his career as a hydraulic engineer and a longtime director of engineering with the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. Now, he leads an array of 15 water and wastewater engineering and management courses for the department. Often held on campus, the two- and three-day courses focus on specialized topics, such as pumping station design, water reuse engineering, water treatment technologies, and infrastructure asset management.

Improving energy efficiency in pumping stations is another of Paschke’s areas of interest. “Water, energy and sustainability are closely linked,” he says. “And next to staffing, energy is often the second-largest component in a water or wastewater utility’s operating budget.”

The EPD water programs in Madison have attracted engineers, managers and technical professionals from the Midwest and from across the country. In addition, a number of agencies and associations nationwide have sponsored custom, on-site editions at their home plants or offices. Recently, such agencies as the Prince William County Service Authority (Virginia), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (North Dakota), Southern California Edison, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Milwaukee Water Works, National Grid (Rhode Island), Hampton Roads Public Works Academy (Virginia) and Gwinnett County, Georgia, hosted on-site courses.

To design his courses, Paschke works with UW-Madison faculty and with practicing engineers, consultants, managers and experts from across the country. “Wisconsin historically has been a leader in water and environmental issues and EPD is known as one of the leading national providers of professional engineering education,” says Paschke. “So, it’s a natural fit.”

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