| Opflow marks 50 years of supporting water operators
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Opflow marks 50 years of supporting water operators

Throughout 2024, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) is celebrating its 50th year of publishing Opflow, the association’s monthly magazine for water operators. The magazine’s January/February 2024 issue was Vol. 50, No. 1. 

Opflow covers over the last 50 yearsSince starting out as an eight-page newsletter in January 1975, Opflow has been fulfilling its mission to provide practical, concise information that operators need to do their jobs better. The publication has evolved into an award-winning magazine beloved by operators and other AWWA members involved with water treatment as well as distribution and wastewater operations.

Opflow’s consistent popularity among AWWA’s members and increased advertising revenue prompted the association to redesign it in July 2006, making it the award-winning magazine members are familiar with today,” said Editor John Hughes.

Opflow has published articles written by operators for operators since its first issue, and the magazine continues this editorial tradition today. 

Gary Burlingame“Writing for Opflow has been a pleasure and an overall great experience,” said Gary Burlingame, self-employed technical consultant and long-time Opflow contributor. “My first article came out in 1994 with four co-authors, entitled ‘Sniff New Mains...Before Customers Complain.’ Opflow provided a good way to let the drinking water community know that a certain pipe joint lubricant was causing odor problems.”

Education, certification and problem-solving have been constant themes throughout the history of the publication. Both Certification Corner (the publication’s quiz section) and Gimmicks & Gadgets (inventions and success stories) have been staples of Opflow since the first issue. 

Supporting operators in critical situations

In its 50 years, Opflow has also grown to fit the needs of modern water operators. The magazine has helped countless professionals handle difficult issues, from frozen water towers to nationally notorious water crises.

Nick PizziFor example, contributor Nick Pizzi recalls the magazine’s content helping operators handle public mistrust during the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. 

“In 2016, I helped train Flint's operators for the plant's restart with Lake Huron water,” said Pizzi. “There, I saw operators overwhelmed by calls from an anxious public and media. Many, new and stressed, sought advice on managing these challenging interactions. Fortunately, Opflow and Connections published timely articles on handling such ‘attack-style’ questions, offering much-needed support and solidarity. This showed them they weren't alone in their struggles.”

To celebrate its history throughout the year, Opflow will run an anniversary article in every 2024 issue to highlight important changes that have occurred in the water sector's past 50 years. Members can explore all 50 years of Opflow, as well as content from Journal AWWA and AWWA Water Science, in the online archives

For more information, visit Opflow’s 50-year celebration webpage.