Sarah Grainger

“I am responsible for the City of Viroqua’s drinking water, wastewater treatment and storm water systems.”
Kickapoo River Watershed
Viroqua, WI

How do you work to protect Wisconsin’s waters?
I worked in Canada with various regulatory agencies in the area of municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment. After moving to the United States, I worked with the Valley Stewardship Network (VSN) as the Water Quality Program Manager. I became the VSN Voyageur and kayaked the entire Kickapoo River in eight days to raise awareness for water quality. I also completed the Kickapoo River Watershed Assessment, which meant compiling and analyzing all water quality data gathered by VSN citizen monitors over 10 years.

In 2011, I started working as city engineer, and later, as the Director or Public Works at the City of Viroqua. I’m responsible for the city’s drinking water, wastewater treatment and storm water systems. I have worked on the construction of a new municipal well and a $10 million dollar upgrade to the wastewater treatment facility.

What are your biggest concerns right now?
My focus right now is on municipal drinking water and wastewater. It concerns me that people don’t trust their municipal drinking water. I also want to ensure municipalities have adequate funding to be able to operate wastewater and storm water systems properly and have the infrastructure they need to do this job.

What keeps you strong and inspired in the face of challenges?
[It’s] the knowledge that I am doing the right thing for citizens and the environment. I strive to stick to science and not be swayed by politics. Also, my children keep me strong and inspired to provide them with the best future for our environment.

What’s your favorite “water spot” in Wisconsin?
Definitely the Kickapoo River and its tributaries!

More information:
Public Works, Viroqua

Learn about other Water Heroes in Wisconsin:
River Alliance Water Heroes – 2018