One Year: Your Thoughts?

Now that you’ve seen 12 months of TPO, what do you think? How can we serve you better? What would you like to see more of? Or less?

A year ago, we launched Treatment Plant Operator with a simple statement: “It’s your magazine — tell your story!” A number of you have done just that, helping us to develop some fine articles that we hope in turn have helped your colleagues in the wastewater treatment profession.

We wish more plant managers and operators would share their successes — and about that, more later. First, let’s review the feedback we’ve received from readers so far.

Bottom line, it is hard to imagine a more positive response. Here’s a sampling:

• I read it cover to cover.

• This is a great magazine.

• The one thing you do, unlike most trade magazines I see, is that you concentrate on people!

• Keep up the good work.

• It really gives my operators who have never been in any other facility something to think about.

• Informative and interesting.

• Finally there’s a publication for the common man.

• It’s the best of all the trade periodicals I receive.

• It’s one of the few magazines that get passed around and read by the plant operators.

The other side

Now, if we just listened to comments like those, we could get big heads around here. But we also welcome constructive criticism, and we take it very seriously. For example, readers have questioned whether some of our pictures show workers using unsafe practices or failing to use the appropriate personal protective gear for the job they’re doing. We screen our photos carefully for safety issues, but comments and questions we receive about them help keep us sharp.

That aside, readers have asked for more stories about water reclamation. We should do more in that area, and we intend to. Others have said we should add industrial wastewater treatment to the mix. So far we have focused on the municipal side, but if interest from the industrial community persists or grows, we may need to re-evaluate. So those are some potential areas for improvement. And with that, a few questions for you.

• What specifically do you like best about TPO so far?

• What are we not writing about that we should be? Are we neglecting some important area of the treatment field?

• Is there anything we’ve been including that you don’t con-sider valuable?

• In general, what can we do to make TPO better?

We wouldn’t ask these questions if we didn’t truly want to know the answers. So drop a note and share your thoughts with us.

It’s about you

And speaking of notes, the ones we like best are those that alert us to potentially interesting stories. We wish we would get more of those. My guess is that operators hold back for two main reasons. One is that you’re busy people. The other is that as a group, you’re not inclined to blow your own horn.

And my answers are: It takes very little time to send a story lead. And by doing so, you help others in your business — you’re not just showing off. What does it take to submit an idea? Just a quick e-mail, or a phone call. Nothing fancy whatsoever.

On hearing your suggestion, we’ll probe a little deeper to see if your story seems valuable to other operators or plant managers and supervisors. If so, we’ll most likely assign a writer to work with you.

What kinds of stories are we looking for? You see them in the magazine every month. Here are some of the regulars:

• Greening the Plant: What are you doing to make your operations more environmentally friendly?

• PlantScapes: Do you have any interesting landscaping or signage that makes a great impression on your community?

• Hearts and Minds: What are you doing to get the public on your side or to draw attention to the profession as a great career choice for young people?

• How We Do It: Have you found an interesting answer to a nagging problem? Has a new technology helped you make a big improvement in some area?

• Worth Noting: Have any of your people won awards lately? Earned new certifications? Reached significant service milestones (10, 20, 30 years)?

Drop a line

We’re open to ideas in those areas, and in others you suggest. Consider making a New Year’s resolution to contact TPO at least once with an idea, or just a comment on how we’re doing. It’s the best possible way to help us serve you, and your tens of thousands of fellow professionals.

Please start by contacting me at, or by a toll-free call to 877/953-3301. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas and to making the next year of TPO even better than the first.


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