Town Employee Wins Prestigious Award

Curtis Kerr, 2018 Gerald Samuel Operator of Year Award from AWWOA Chair Ed Spohr

Curtis Kerr, 2018 Gerald Samuel Operator of Year Award from AWWOA Chair Ed Spohr

Every year since 1984, the Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association (AWWOA) has recognized Water and Wastewater operators who have made significant contributions to the water and/or wastewater industry with the Gerald Samuel, Operator of the Year Award.

This year, at the AWWOA Annual Opperators Seminar, the Gerald Samuel, Operator of the Year Award was awarded to Curtis Kerr, who has been a Water and Wastewater Operator in Cardston since 2009. Curtis was nominated for the award by the Cardston Director of Infrastructure Services, Barton Atwood.

The Mayor and Council of the Town of Cardston further recognized Curtis Kerr for his achievement at the March 26th, 2019 Regular Meeting Council, and read aloud the nomination letter submitted by Mr. Atwood:

To Whom It May Concern,

            I would like to nominate Curtis Kerr for the 2018, “Gerald Samuel Operator of the Year Award”.

Curtis started with the Town of Cardston in 2009 working in the Water & Wastewater Treatment Plants. Without any prior knowledge in the water industry, he has exceled in obtaining his certifications, gaining knowledge and experience in all four disciplines in the water and wastewater departments. Now, as a Level II certified operator, he is the person everyone turns to for answers, is more than happy to help out and share his knowledge, and help to train those who work with him, all while keeping the rest of us on our toes.

            I am certain that every Alberta Environment Inspector would commend him for his knowledge, diligence, and integrity regarding the approvals and standards that we follow in our water & wastewater operations.

There is no job that he will hesitate to do, from pump repairs, dosage pump programing (chlorine, fluoride, pax), to UV programing, calibration and maintenance, filter surveillance, and all areas of the water plant maintenance. He has updated the operations manual for the water plant and written the operations manual for the WWTP. He has written most of the SOP’s for the waterworks and wastewater systems, most notably, he has been able to fine tune the SOP for operating the water treatment plant manually if we were to lose the operation of the PLC. He has studied and learned both the water & wastewater approvals, including the standards & guidelines to be able to point out deficiencies that may not stand out in a report, helping us to correct it before any problem would arise. He also has designed and organized the Towns water distribution unidirectional hydrant flushing program, and has written and helped with the instruction to public works employees about the correct procedures for water main disinfection during and after a main break and after installation of a new water main.   

While we were helping in Turner Valley after the flood of 2013 Curtis was able to repair and bring back into service one of their chlorine injectors as they were not able to obtain the required dosage from this injector.

In our wastewater treatment and collection infrastructure, he has been the one down in the sewage wet well for clean up to prevent the pumps from plugging, the cleaning of the grit trap and the sediment collected under the RBC’s, organizing the schedule for maintaining and repairing components of our nearly 40 year old plant. He has learned the operation of our sewer main camera for pipe inspections and in doing so has given the town the ability to plan ahead with budgeting to replace older unreliable sewer mains.

            Curtis also conveys respect and courtesy to all residents he comes in contact with in giving the best service available to meet their needs and to help out with problems that arise in emergency and everyday situations.

            Comment from a fellow operator; “Curtis Kerr is proficient in his job by learning and doing what is necessary to keep our Water and Waste Water Treatment Plant operations in compliance with federal and provincial regulations. He is also an asset to the Town of Cardston in using his expertise to operate both the Water and Waste Water Treatment Plants and in offering training to other employees being offered opportunities to work in the plants.”

            Comment from CAO; “There are countless reasons for us to nominate Curtis as Operator of the Year, one thing that is for certain is, I can be guaranteed that when there is a problem or an incident within our water & wastewater operations, Curtis is the operator that will not overlook any details in resolving problems, restoring services, and on time and accurate reporting.”

I hope you will consider Curtis Kerr for this award.


Barton W. Atwood
Director of Infrastructure
Town of Cardston

We congratulate Curtis Kerr on receiving this award, and are privileged to have him as a Water and Wastewater Operator in the Town of Cardston.