Ashland, Missouri – August 23, 2017

Tom Hyatt, MRWA Water Training Specialist

The Missouri Rural Water Association welcomed more than 250 water utility professionals at its 10th annual Bootheel Expo in Poplar Bluff August 22-23. Attendees included industry product and service providers, decision makers, office professionals, and water and wastewater specialists. (Click here for gallery)

MRWA brings similar groups together during its other three yearly conferences as a way of broadening the knowledge and skill level of professionals in the utility industry.

Formal training at the Bootheel Expo included a day-long Board and Council session to familiarize elected and appointed officials about the regulatory, management, and maintenance responsibilities related to providing safe drinking water and environmentally safe wastewater for their communities. These sessions also included information about state statutes pertaining to open meetings.

Office Professional sessions addressed the complexities of administration, record-keeping, and effective communications among all tiers of authority at utilities.

Meanwhile, water and wastewater specialists learned about such diverse topics as leak location and repair, emergency line locates, proper signage when working near roadways, trench safety, and control panel components and troubleshooting. Sessions also included ammonia removal in lagoons, remote monitoring and controls setup, and state inspection preparations.

Industry professionals offered valuable training as well by interacting with water and wastewater specialists about their products and services. Whether discussing the latest technology that makes work more efficient or a service that helps maintain water quality compliance, these company representatives provide significant resources for utilities.

Besides the formal training and social aspects of the event, heavy equipment operators demonstrated their skills with an excavator in navigating a timed competition. To capture one of the top three spots and win cash rewards, contestants had to prove agility and speed. The winners of this year’s MRWA Rodeo are Shawn Mullins from the City of Dudley, taking first place; Chris Harris from the City of Dexter, coming in second; and Alliance Water Resources Employee Steve Wilson of Ste. Genevieve, rounding out third place.

Mullins and Harris, by capturing the first two spots, gain an added advantage. They will compete at the MRWA Fall Operations and Maintenance Symposium in Lake Ozark during late October. That Grand Masters course will offer the top performer a $1,000 cash prize.

In addition to training and skill demonstrations, participants enjoy the opportunity to win prizes throughout each MRWA conference. Meals and refreshments are in bountiful supply, as well.

MRWA is unsurpassed in its services to these utilities. Besides formal conferences, the organization offers one-day and multi-day training courses; regulatory guidance; maintenance troubleshooting; leak, line, and valve location; smoke testing and videography of wastewater collection systems; underground utility mapping; source water protection assistance; state legislative oversight and advocacy; managerial help; and a multitude of resources.

Learn more about MRWA at or express yourself on its Facebook page or Twitter page @MoRuralWater.

Tom Hyatt
Water Training Specialist
Missouri Rural Water Association
901 Richardson Drive
Ashland, MO 65010

573-657-5533 (office)

573-657-0533 (fax)

573-783-1745 (cell)