The Fire Chief Project: What’s In a Name?

Talking about clean water – a few who “get it.”

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The lack of respect that comes to wastewater treatment plants and the profession starts with what we call ourselves. If we call our workplace a sewage plant and call ourselves wastewater operators, what is the public supposed to think? Names have power.

The Fire Chief Project is partly about describing the industry in more positive ways.

Some entities already understand the need to do this – a few have for quite some time. Consider, for example, the national group that represents major cities and utilities that keep our waterways clean. A few years ago, that group was known as the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies. Several years ago it became, and it remains today, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. Much better, right?

Just a few months ago, what for years was called the Green Bay (Wis.) Metropolitan Sewerage District became known as NEW Water. There were two reasons for the change, according to district officials: First, to reflect that the agency serves North Eastern Wisconsin and not just Green Bay. And second to convey that the agencies in not about sewage but about renewing water – in the Fox River, in the Bay of Green Bay, and in Lake Michigan.

And then there is the venerable agency out in Oregon that calls itself simply, Clean Water Services. It doesn’t get any clearer or better than that.

To talk “clean water” is to embrace The Fire Chief Project. Remember, the Fire Chief Project has two simple aims:
· That clean-water operators have the same stature with the public as the fire chief
· That boys and girls grow up wanting to be clean-water operators

Tell how you are advancing the staure and respect of the clean-water profession. the profession look great. Send your stories and I will pass them along to readers. Start today. Send a note to


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