Toward A Closer Community

Starting with this issue, TPO magazine expands its mission to include the industrial wastewater and drinking water sides of the treatment profession.

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COLE Publishing launched Treatment Plant Operator magazine in 2009 to serve the operations side of the wastewater treatment profession. We started Water System Operator in 2012 to serve operations people on the drinking water side.

Now, after 2 1/2 years of publishing both magazines, we see advantages in making them one. Therefore, as of this month’s issue, we’re expanding TPO to encompass the entire community of treatment plant operators — wastewater and drinking water. We’ll also be stepping up coverage of industrial wastewater.

It’s a natural

We think this change makes sense on various levels because, increasingly, we find that water and wastewater are simply different sides of the same coin. Consider:

  • Most communities have both water and wastewater utilities. They provide water and wastewater treatment. They bill together for water and sewer service.
  • Many people who operate drinking water and wastewater treatment plants have dual licenses. They may work full-time on one side, but they’re licensed for the other. Especially in smaller towns, operators actually work both sides or help the other side in a pinch.
  • Many readers of this magazine were also readers of WSO — and vice versa.
  • Some state and regional WEA chapters and American Water Works Association sections hold joint training events and conferences. And industrial operators are very much a part of wastewater operator organizations.
  • Most manufacturers that offer products for one side also offer products for the other. Many exhibit at both the WEFTEC and ACE (drinking water) trade shows.
  • Perhaps most basic of all, water and wastewater treatment are different components of the same urban water cycle.

Interests in common

So what does this mean to readers of TPO? It means you get all the material you’re used to — and more. The articles focused on drinking water and industrial treatment are largely in addition, not in place of. We believe the expanded and more diverse subject matter will help everyone.

After all, water and wastewater operators share basic functions: pumping, treatment, disinfection, residuals management. They also share the fundamental concerns: compliance, service quality, efficiency, public health, energy conservation, environmental protection. As such, they can learn from each other across disciplines.

For example, energy-saving tips from a wastewater treatment plant may apply just as well to a drinking water plant. A public outreach program for a drinking water utility may contain lessons and best practices that apply just as well on the wastewater side. While the processes are different, the overall intentions are largely similar. The expanded TPO will reflect that.

Come along for the ride

In this magazine, you’ll continue to see profiles of top-performing operators, treatment plants and utilities. There will be news of the latest products and in-depth reports on exciting technology offerings. We’ll report on plant sustainability initiatives, share technical advice from experts, and present case studies on successful product installations. In other words, everything you’ve come to expect in TPO, in a larger and broader context.

So, I hope you will join us on the two-way street that is water and wastewater treatment. I’ve been editing TPO for almost six years now, and I’m excited about its expanding mission.

As always, your cards, letters, calls and electronic messages will be welcome. In fact, if you have a comment, question or story to share right now — or if there’s anything at all you’d like to discuss, send me a note to

Let’s continue our journey and welcome new groups of travel companions.


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