Richard Laux named February 2009 employee of the month by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources

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Volume 37-048 For Immediate Release: Feb. 24, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, --- Richard Laux has been named February 2009 Employee of the Month by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He is an Environmental Specialist IV and currently serves as pretreatment program coordinator with the Water Pollution Control Branch, Division of Environmental Quality, in Jefferson City.

Throughout his 28-year career, Laux has been a pioneer in implementing clean water laws in Missouri. In the early years, he developed the department's first fact sheets and worked with EPA to overhaul the Missouri State Operating Permit system to bring it into line with the federal permit program. He wrote the first permits for all of the major industrial facilities in Missouri.

In order to better understand permit requirements, Laux visited sites and observed their processes firsthand. Armed with that knowledge, he crafted fair and equitable permits that protected water quality in a way that was technically feasible.  "Richard's contribution to protecting Missouri's waters from point source discharges is unparalleled," said Scott Tackett, an environmental specialist in the Water Pollution Control Branch, who nominated Laux for recognition.

From 1980 to the present, Laux has been the point person for all variance requests presented to the Clean Water Commission. He will often work with an applicant to modify and improve the request, or even show them a way that makes a variance unnecessary.

"Either way, the outcome is usually a success for both the environment and the permittee. The commission greatly appreciates Richard's efforts," said Tackett

Because of his knowledge and experience, Laux is known to be extremely efficient in all that he does. His turn-around times are phenomenal and throughout his career, he finds ways to do more with less, whether working on permits, certifications or in his current capacity as pretreatment coordinator.

As pretreatment program coordinator, Laux has earned high praise from EPA. Within a year, he conducted 50 assistance visits, held 33 meetings, made 31 (municipal) pretreatment compliance inspections, 37 industrial inspections, did one conference presentation and was on the road 95 days -- all while keeping up with his variance duties and other work. "The facilities and communities regularly express their appreciation for his efforts," said Tackett.

Recently, Laux worked with General Mills, in Ralls County, to develop a water treatment solution that enabled the plant to remain open and keep an estimated 300 jobs in Missouri.

Laux has worked for the department since January 1980. He lives in Holts Summit.

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Editor: Photo is available at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/newsrel/images/laux-eom.jpg.