Rhinelander WWTP, Sullivan Sanitary District named Lab of the Year

March 21, 2017
Dept. of Natural Resources names facilities for producing high quality data. 
Mike Albert from the Town of Sullivan Laboratory receives the 2017 Lab of the Year Award from DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. Photo: DNR

MADISON, WI, MARCH 21, 2017 -- The Department of Natural Resources has recognized the Rhinelander Wastewater Treatment Plant and Town of Sullivan Sanitary District as the 2017 Registered Laboratories of the Year. The award is presented annually to recognize laboratories for their outstanding commitment to producing high quality data.

Laboratories for municipal wastewater treatment plants perform the vital function of monitoring the quality of treated water discharged into the environment assuring that it meets all applicable standards for protecting public health and natural resources, according to Steve Geis, DNR Environmental Science Services section chief.

"Jody Flannery from Rhinelander has been demonstrating laboratory excellence for a long time. Jody and her lab were nominated back in 2013, but not selected at that time. Jody's organizational skills and attention to detail are so essential to producing quality lab data. Our DNR field engineer in Rhinelander often uses Jody as a resource to help other labs in the area," Geis said.

This year Geis said the DNR Laboratory Certification Program made a decision to award a second Lab of the Year Award because of very different set of circumstances with the Town of Sullivan lab.

"We wanted to recognize Mike Albert from the Town of Sullivan. Three years ago I was sure we were going to lose this lab because of an operator retirement. We have had very few one-person treatment plan operations that have won Lab of the Year, because the operator just wears too many hats to focus on lab work. The town hired Mike to operate the plant and in just a short time, he has turned the Town of Sullivan lab from almost a complete failure to an efficiently run and well maintained one," Geis said.

There are currently 362 laboratories in the state that provide chemistry data to DNR to ensure protection of the environment.

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