City Employee Lauded By State Group

Yankton Wastewater Treatment Plant superintendent Tanner Hanson, shown here in this 2019 photo, was recently awarded the South Dakota Water Environment Association’s 5S award following his two-year tenure as the group’s president.

A city employee has been recognized for his dedication to forwarding the goals of a state organization despite difficult times.

Tanner Hanson, who has served as Yankton’s Wastewater Treatment Plant superintendent since 2014, has also been active with the South Dakota Water Environment Association (SDWEA), which aims to connect water utility providers across the state.

Last month, Hanson was the recipient of the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers Award — also known as the 5S Award — by the SDWEA during its annual conference.

“It’s used by the Water Environment Association to honor those that have made a particular contribution to their industry,” he said. “It’s meant to be a prestigious award, but it’s kind of done in fun.”

Hanson, who is coming off a two-year term as SDWEA’s president, said his term was an eventful one.

“It was an interesting time,” he said. “We had a bomb cyclone-blizzard (in 2019) which delayed one of our seminars, so we had to reschedule that seminar. We had some flooding events occur and we had a pandemic. It was tricky to schedule a lot of our conferences and seminars that we had planned due to crazy events occurring.”

He said that officials got creative in order to overcome those obstacles.

“We ended up doing some online stuff during the pandemic,” he said. “We just ended up rescheduling and were able to have the conferences (around) the bad-weather events.”

With his term as president over, Hanson is now considered Past President for two years.

Hanson said the 5S Award is a testament to the work a member puts into the organization.

“It means that you’re involved in the conference planning and moving forward with the South Dakota Water Environment Association goals,” he said. “The SDWEA is dedicated to providing education. You put out technical information. You increase public understanding and promote sound public policy in the water environment. We try to put forth a high quality service to (SDWEA’s) members and basically try to elevate the professional status of people that are engaged in water resources.”

He said he’s made a number of efforts to help the SDWEA keep up with those goals.

“A lot of it is trying to connect with operators around the state and making sure that they’re getting their contact hours,” he said. “Since we weren’t able to meet in person for the last year and a half or so, it was about finding technical literature that people could watch online in lieu of meeting in person at these seminars.”

On winning the 5S Award, Hanson said he was honored.

“I was excited and proud to win the award,” he said. “It’s a nice recognition.”

He added that he and the SDWEA will continue to spread knowledge among those working on the state’s water utilities.

“Basically, we’re just trying to expose operators and engineers to new processes and technologies in our field,” he said. “We’re trying to stay up to date with what’s going on. There’s always technology upgrades and new things coming down the pike as far as ways to operate and new ways of doing things at wastewater plants and water plants. We’re trying to keep all of the water professionals enlightened about what’s out there.”

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