Awards of Excellence

Each year at our Annual Conference, Idaho Rural Water Association presents awards to Member Systems and employees of Member Systems that have done an outstanding job in the water and wastewater field. IRWA also honors Member Systems that have shown initiative and taken a proactive approach in developing a plan or taken steps to implement a plan to protect their drinking water sources from potential contaminants through source water protection efforts.
If you know someone who is doing a great job, recognize them by completing one of our Awards of Excellence applications.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

2019 Award Recipients

  • Administrator of the Year
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Water System of the Year
  • Water Operations Specialist of the Year
  • Wastewater System of the Year
  • Wastewater Operations Specialist of the Year
  • Friend of Rural Water
  • Idaho's Great American Water Taste Test Winner

Frank Suwanrit – City of Bellevue

Administrator of the Year

This year’s Administrator of the Year award goes to a person who has accomplished a lot in their short time serving as Public Works Director. This individual has worked diligently to assemble a cohesive and effective team and make sure that everyone on the team is happy. They are very hands on with their position and are always the first person to show up on every project.


Clay Thomas - Hecla Limited Lucky Friday Mine

Rookie of the Year

(Judy Cloos accepting on behalf of Clay Thomas) This year’s rookie of the year award goes to an individual who has demonstrated excellent knowledge and ability as a drinking water operator. They have put forth a great deal of effort to become a proficient operator and have, in the last year, already become instrumental in designing and implementing a plan to upgrade the water system. They helped develop this plan in order to increase the reliability and automation of the water system. This individual has enthusiastically assumed increasing roles and responsibilities, demonstrated effective leadership, and continues to advance rapidly.


City of Bellevue

Water System of the Year

This year’s water system of the year award goes to a system that accomplished great things this past year with a tight budget. They have been working on a meter project, installed new sample stations, and have actively pushed a hydrant flushing program. They have also worked with their city council to update and add new types of C12 systems, including C12 analyzers for each of their pump houses. Additionally, this system has met and exceeded all of DEQ’s requests successfully throughout the year.


Judy Cloos - Hecla Limited Lucky Friday Mine

Water Operations Specialist of the Year

This year’s Water Operations Specialist of the Year has contributed over 44 years to the drinking water industry. This individual has always maintained an exemplary attitude regardless of any challenges in the system. This person has provided a legacy of almost flawless maintenance and supervisory contributions to their system since the mid-80’s, particularly influenced by their efforts in preventative maintenance. As this person nears retirement, we are proud to offer them this award and the recognition they deserve from their commitment.


City of Hagerman

Wastewater System of the Year

Although this system completed an impressive project during this last year, they have been working diligently for the last six years to improve their facilities while being sensitive to the needs of their residents. They were able to collaborate with several agencies to fund about half of their project, keeping the cost to their residents relatively low. The project, which included a new 17 million gallon winter storage pond, a new pumping station to land apply on 99 acres, and 2 new lift stations, was completed in the spring of 2018. This system is excited to now recycle their waste water instead of discharging it into the Snake River. Their dedication to the wellbeing of their residents, tenacity in problem solving, and enthusiasm for caring for the environment make this system an obvious choice for this award.


Mike Wade – City of Dover

Wastewater Operations Specialist of the Year

This year’s wastewater operations specialist of the year is a critical part of their water system. Not only does this individual take the lead on the system’s water and wastewater operations, but also has taken on a critical role with the City Council, Mayor, and other staff. This role is significant for the future of the system, planning for upgrades and expansions.


Jami Delmore – Southwest District Health Office

Friend of Rural Water


Salmon River Meadows Mutual Water Company

Idaho's Great American Water Taste Test Winner