SIUE School of Engineering’s ERTC Wins Governor’s Sustainability Award
The Environmental Resources Training Center at SIUE was among the twenty-four Illinois institutions, organization and companies honored at a ceremony in Chicago on October 23, 2014. The Training Center received the Governor’s Sustainability Award for its significant achievements in protecting the environment, helping sustain the future and improving the State’s economy. The award is presented annually by the Illinois Sustainability Technology Center (ISTC), a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. ERTC’s Director Paul Shetley and Operations Director Kim Bateman were present to receive the award.
ERTC received the award for its 40-year commitment to the sustainability and protection of the waters in 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 Shetley. “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 FY2013 when it trained over 975 students and awarded over 25,000 continuing education and contact hours.
Louisiana Engineers Study SIUE’s ERTC as Potential Model
A delegation from Louisiana visited the SIUE Environmental Resources Training Center (ERTC) recently in hopes of duplicating the unique Center’s successes in Baton Rouge.
“It’s hard to find places that train people in this field, which is surprising as everybody needs waste water and water treatment,” said David R. Gullory, public works director for the Department of Public Works for the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge.
Paul Shetley, ERTC director, led the tour and explained the purposes and functions of the Center to the Louisiana contingent.
The Center does two things, according to Shetley. The first is to offer a one-year program for students, who work eight hours a day, four days per week and learn everything about drinking water, treatment and waste water operations. Secondly, the ERTC trains those people who are already in the field and provides them with continuing education to keep abreast of new technology.
The ERTC building was constructed in 1978 and will graduate its 32nd class in July 2014. The training center is equipped to enroll 25-30 students a year.
“I’m really interested in the hands on aspect of it, and how much the students learn” said Joshua R. Crowe, program manager at CH2M Hill in Baton Rouge. “I also like how ERTC has worked with the community and formed partnerships. It’s really progressive. I don’t know of any other place like this. Hopefully, we’ll have a center like this one day.”