Letter: A toast to island’s drinking water professionals

Letter: A toast to island’s drinking water professionals | Whidbey News-Times (whidbeynewstimes.com)


Our congratulations go to the drinking water professionals from Island County who are among those being honored as the “best of the best” by the state Department of Health (DOH). Ten people, two from Whidbey, are being honored during the annual National Drinking Water Week for ensuring their communities have access to safe and clean drinking water.

One story from this year involves Town of Coupeville Public Works Director Joe Grogan, winner of the Grace Under Pressure award. Grogan started his career as utility supervisor in 2016 just as the Navy confirmed PFAS contamination in Coupeville’s newest, highest-producing drinking water well. Grogan became an expert on PFAS contaminants, testing, state and federal regulations, treatment operations and more. He acted as liaison between the Navy and the town communicating complex information in a transparent and understandable way.

Grogan was recently promoted to Coupeville Public Works director and continues to oversee major capital construction projects and the utility crew, all while keeping current with emerging state and federal PFAS regulations.

Also, John Lovie, former Whidbey Island Water System Association president, is receiving a Lifetime Achievement recognition. Lovie has been a partner on many different projects supporting environmental stewardship and healthy water quality for Island County communities. He holds a bachelor’s in science from the University of Manchester, where he focused on inorganic and environmental chemistry, and has served on local and state committees – including serving as a member of the Salmon Recovery Citizens and Technical Committee.

The American Water Works Association started Drinking Water Week more than 40 years ago to highlight the essential role drinking water plays in the daily health of our communities and economy. Washington State DOH has participated in these awards for 20 years.

Washington’s Drinking Water Week winners are from all over the state and work at organizations ranging from rural systems serving 15 households to large utilities serving hundreds of thousands.

Island County Public Health