Clean Water A Goal For Lab Manager

Jill Bolin
Jill Bolin

Pollution can cause a community uproar. However, when water treatment goes right few people take notice.

When they do it's appreciated by people like Nacogdoches Water Utilities Laboratory Manager Jill Bolin. She's the recipient of the Water Environment Federation Laboratory Analyst Excellence Award.

Simply put, Bolin makes sure that dirty water is turned into clean water. "I test the water that leaves the City of Nacogdoches and enters Lanana Bayou and eventually ends up in Lake Sam Rayburn," Bolin explained.

Bolin gathers dirty waste water directly from the treatment plant. It's then taken back to the lab where the solids are measured. "See what that does is it lets the water through so all the solids get caught on the filter," Bolin explained as she prepared the sample.Then it's cooked and weighed. Now it's time for comparison.

Bolin's assistant, Melinda Rainwater, an appropriate name for her job, brings up the treated water. It too will be tested, but just by looking at the clear beaker you know it's cleaner.

Bolin said with confidence, "We put out cleaner water than what is in there naturally."

The staff claims any part of the stream down from the treatment facility is safe for humans and wildlife. Rainwater said, "The wastewater operators are instrumental in keeping the wildlife abundant in the creek downstream. They do an incredible job."

It is a team effort, but Bolin's professionalism and contributions to achieving water quality has gained her national recognition.

Texas is currently developing new accreditation requirements for all water quality labs. Bolin is confident Nacogdoches water utilities won't have any trouble following the stiffer rules. In April Bolin will receive her plaque, but much sooner East Texans will be awarded with a cleaner environment.