Lifetime Achievement Awards

Lifetime Achievement Awards at Annual MOWA Conference



The Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association (MOWA) awarded three lifetime achievement awards at their annual conference held January 26-28. This MOWA award recognizes individuals whose careers  in the field of onsite wastewater treatment have are exemplary, with outstanding service, dedication and accomplishment for MOWA.


Jim Anderson

Since 1971, Jim Anderson has been conducting research and providing education on septic systems.  Jim and Roger Machmeier started the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program (OSTP) at the University of Minnesota resulting in one of the best education and certification programs in the US.  Jim’s soils expertise, combined with Roger’s engineering knowledge created a program which successfully trains installers, designers, inspectors and service providers.   In addition, Jim helped develop and update Minnesota Rules during over 30 years as chair of the Minnesota Septic System Advisory Committee. Presenting the award, OSTP’s Sara Heger said: “Jim’s example taught the septic industry three important things:  1) the value of getting your hands dirty, 2) the value of belonging to a state association and 3) the impact that one person can make.”  Jim retired in 2008 and he is certainly missed, but thankfully we can still read his words of wisdom in the Installer magazine.


Gretchen Sabel

Gretchen Sabel retired this past summer after 36 years of state service.  She committed nearly four decades of her like to environmental protection.  Gretchen was on the team that helped pass the historic Minnesota Groundwater Projection act in 1989.  For nearly 25 years she was a “founding mother” of the septic system program as we know it today.  Her unwavering support for local program has resulted in millions of dollars in assistance and development of 250 local programs.  Gretchen came from Pittsburg where the groundwater was contaminated and a polluted environment was a foregone conclusion.  Coming to Minnesota, Gretchen was proud to live in a state that didn’t tolerate that.  She dedicated her career to that premise.


Ron Jaspersen

Ron has served the onsite community for many decades as a precast tank manufacturer and through his tireless efforts to improve our industry.  His standard for fairness, equity and getting it right for all parties is demonstrated daily through delivering highest quality products and service. He has donated an immeasurable amount of time over the years to work on critical issues that include association finances and bylaws, state septic code and policy, and state statutes.  He has applied his penchant for detail to these efforts while working quietly and without fanfare.  His positive impacts may be largely unseen but have had major benefit for people served by septic systems.