In Memoriam – Roy Herwig, “Father of CMOM”

April 26, 2018

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Roy Arthur Herwig, Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) member since 1995, was known as the father of capacity, management, operation, and maintenance (CMOM). Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

Roy Arthur Herwig, Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) member since 1995, was known as the father of capacity, management, operation, and maintenance (CMOM). Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

Roy Arthur Herwig, known as the father of capacity, management, operation, and maintenance (CMOM), died Dec. 17, 2017, at the age of 75.  

Herwig worked for Region 4 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1984 to 2001. During his tenure at EPA, he helped develop the CMOM program to help evaluate the performance of collection systems. The program offers a “holistic approach” to understanding, managing, and improving different aspects of wastewater collections, said Stacy Passaro, former Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) staff and current WEF member. 

“[Herwig] was very passionate about sharing tools that could help people to get their arms around their collection systems and begin to proactively manage it,” Passaro said. While serving as WEF staff, she worked with Herwig on the WEF Collection Systems Committee. He joined the committee in 2001 and spoke about CMOM during a traveling WEF workshop that educated many utility managers about the process, she said.  

Cleaning up waterways around the nation

Roy Herwig (right) participates in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency meeting in the late 1970s. Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

Roy Herwig (right) participates in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency meeting in the late 1970s. Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

Eric MacDonald remembers seeing problems with collection systems caused by infiltration and inflow when he first started working in wastewater in 1980. Many system managers would say nothing could be done to fix these stormwater issues. But MacDonald saw how Herwig’s contributions helped improve these systems. 

“[Herwig] told people that there is something you can do. If you properly operate and maintain your sewer system, you don’t have to have these problems,” MacDonald said. “He really had a lot to do with cleaning up the water quality throughout the U.S.” 

Building a long list of leadership credentials

Herwig earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s degree in sanitary engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta). He served as program manager for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division until 1981.  

After retiring from EPA as a senior enforcement officer, Herwig worked at numerous organizations until founding Bluewater Environmental Engineering LLC (Dunwoody, Ga.) in 2010. Between EPA and Bluewater, he worked at  

  • Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.) as vice president;  
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff (New York) as senior managing engineer;  
  • Woolpert (Dayton, Ohio) as project director; and  
  • DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management (Stone Mountain, Ga.) as CMOM coordinator.  
During a 2003 WEF CMOM conference in Honolulu, WEF members Roy Herwig (left) and George Martin (right), general manager of Greenwood Metropolitan District, go to dinner with their wives Liz Herwig (left) and Margaret Martin (center). Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

During a 2003 WEF CMOM conference in Honolulu, WEF members Roy Herwig (left) and George Martin (right), general manager of Greenwood (S.C.) Metropolitan District, go to dinner with their wives Liz Herwig (left) and Margaret Martin (center). Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

Herwig joined WEF and the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) in 1995. He was an active member of WEF’s Collection Systems Committee, Program Committee, and Government Affairs Committee. He also developed and participated in numerous other continuing education university courses and workshops for WEF, GAWP, and EPA primarily about CMOM and fats, oils, and grease. In 2007, WEF awarded Herwig the Collection Systems Award.  

Herwig also was very active at the local level, MacDonald said. Together, MacDonald and Herwig started the GAWP Knowledge Pipeline Workshop to train operators about collection systems. Through the program, Herwig would conduct training sessions throughout the year.

“He wanted to continue teaching people,” MacDonald said. “He was passionate about making sure that people did things the right way.”  

In 2011, GAWP awarded Herwig the Arthur Sydney Bedell Award for extraordinary service to the organization. 

Commitment to clean water shows

“Roy was very committed to clean water and certainly his work with the CMOM program helped advance better operation and maintenance of wastewater collection systems,” said George Barnes, a WEF life member who met Herwig while they both worked at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. “We had many spirited discussions about the program and its need.” 

Herwig understood the important role municipal employees have in the proper operation and maintenance of wastewater collection and treatment facilities, Barnes said. He did not think that utility employees got enough support from elected officials for funding and training, so he worked to make this education available to them. 

Roy Herwig takes his boat out on Lake Lanier in Georgia with his dog Prince. Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

Roy Herwig takes his boat out on Lake Lanier in Georgia with his dog, Prince. Photo courtesy of Liz Herwig.

Herwig also had a sense of humor and a great love of dogs. He loved to bring his dog when he goes fishing on open waters and often buys them dog life jackets that help keep your dog afloat.

“Roy loved to tell stories, mostly centering around his love for southern cooking . . . the under-appreciated, gelatinous canned meat product also known as ‘SPAM,’ and his dogs,” Passaro said. “He will be greatly missed. We thank him for his service and his passion and his sense of humor.” 

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

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