The American Water Works Association (AWWA) selected Oerther for the Dr. John L. Leal Award. This award recognizes individuals whose careers exemplify improving water quality and protecting public health. AWWA was founded in 1881 and now includes more than 50,000 members globally. The four prior recipients include members of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the 2017 recipient of the Clarke Prize and the City of Grand Rapids.
The namesake, Leal, was the first person to use chlorine to disinfect drinking water in the United States, helping to protect the health and lives of millions for the past 100 years.
Oerther has also been recognized as a certified environmental professional (CEP) via eminence by the Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals (ABCEP).
The academy administers the program to recognize highly qualified individuals who possess a bachelor’s degree and at least 20 years of applicable professional environmental experience. Fifteen of the 20 years must be in a position of responsible charge or supervision.
Already recognized for his work as a licensed, board-certified environmental engineer, Oerther sought the CEP designation to reflect his dual training in engineering and the biological sciences, and to reflect his science-based approach to environmental professional practice.