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Home : Volume 23 : Fall 1996 :
Distinguished Service Award for James L. Nemke

James L. Nemke

James L. Nemke
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James L. Nemke has been a primary influence in the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District's (MMSD) rise to national prominence for excellence in service, wastewater treatment research, and leadership in environmental policy and planning.

He began working for the district as a research and operations engineer after receiving his BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from UW-Madison (1969 and 1972, respectively). At that time, one of his top responsibilities was coordinating research efforts between the district and his alma mater. From 1974-77 Nemke was responsible for operating a 27 MGD activated sludge treatment plant and a 7 MGD trickling filter plant.

In 1977 Nemke was promoted to chief engineer and director of the MMSD, overseeing all administrative and engineering functions of the 156-square-mile district and its 49 municipal customers. Since then, Nemke has overseen four major plant additions, 150 construction contracts, and numerous planning studies. He has also played a significant role in developing Wisconsin DNR standards and codes that have benefited Wisconsin municipalities and saved the MMSD more than $35 million.

The two manuals on wastewater treatment plant design and operation that Nemke co-authored have become internationally respected resources. In addition, he has prepared a wide variety of papers and presentations.

Under Nemke's guidance, the MMSD has been recognized for meeting the highest standards of excellence in service and environmental protection, while maintaining user rates that are among the lowest in the United States. This commitment to excellence has resulted in numerous state and federal awards for the district and its employees.

Most recently, Nemke received the Water Environment Federation's Arthur Sidney Bedell Award for extraordinary service in the water pollution field.

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