Aboriginal Water & Wastewater Association of Ontario 2019 award winners
The Aboriginal Water & Wastewater Association of Ontario presented awards for Operator of the Year and the Water Cup Challenge at the association's 2019 conference and tradeshow in Thunder Bay. (Left to Right) South Water Cup Challenge Winner Andrew Recollett, Whitefish River First Nation; South Operator of the Year Aaron Beaucage, Nipissing First Nation; North Operator of the Year Charles Friday, Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services; North Water Cup Challenge Winner Michael Gillis, Constance Lake First Nation.

From January 29-31, 2019 Thunder Bay played host to the 24th annual Aboriginal Water and Wastewater Association of Ontario’s conference and tradeshow.

The Aboriginal Water and Wastewater Association of Ontario (AWWAO) is an organization formed by and for the benefit of First Nation Water and Wastewater operators from the province of Ontario.

The AWWAO Conference aims to promote the development and delivery of certified training programs for members and others involved in the water and wastewater industry.

Over 90 people and 32 exhibiting companies made their way to Thunder Bay to attend the event. Highlights of the conference included: the AWWAO general meeting, banquet dinner, guest speakers and a performance by comedian Moccasin Joe.

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According to the conference organizers, one of the most successful training sessions was Maintenancefest, delivered by the Walkerton Clean Water Centre.

This unique training experience included three hands-on training modules: iron and manganese in groundwater; maintenance and calibration of lab equipment; and sampling, testing, adverse results and corrective actions. Participants rotated through modules, and earned Continuing Educations Units (CEU).

Operator and Water System Awards

Each year, the AWWAO recognizes First Nation Operators in Ontario who go above and beyond doing a good job. The Operator of the Year award is given to one operator from the North and one from the South who:

  • Provides an example to others of the many facets of being an operator, particularly in supporting the other activities of other operators
  • Make the extra effort to support and educate their fellow operators
  • Encourage others to become more involved
  • Go out of their way to help everyone in the water and wastewater field
  • Volunteer to help others and serve on committees
  • And all while doing the things that are necessary to be good at their job

The winners of the 2019 AWWAO Operator of the Year award were: (South) Aaron Beaucage, Nipissing First Nation; and (North) Charles Friday, Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services.

The conference also featured the Water Cup Challenge which involved a panel of judges weighing the taste and appearance of tap water produced by reserve water systems. The 2019 Water Cup Challenge winners were: (South) Andrew Recollett, Whitefish River First Nation, and (North) Michael Gillis, Constance Lake First Nation.

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