Association honors Heimdal with environmental award

Dennis Heimdal (left) collects a water sample with former SHL limnologist Nathan Ohrt in February 2007.
April 27, 2018 -- The Iowa Public Health Association (IPHA) honored the State Hygienic Laboratory’s Dennis Heimdal with the 2018 Harry Grant Award presented to him at the Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health in Des Moines on April 10.

Heimdal, an environmental laboratory specialist, operates the SHL’s water quality lab at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory in Milford, part of the Iowa Great Lakes region.

The Harry Grant Award honors the lifetime achievement in environmental health of those whom IPHA describes as going beyond their job duties “to give service to the public and fellow professionals.”

Bonnie Rubin, former SHL associate director and IPHA member, nominated Heimdal for his role in creating and implementing SHL laboratory operations at Lakeside; successfully obtaining certification by the Iowa DNR and a national laboratory accredition authority; and providing testing of drinking water, wastewater and surface water to the public and private clients in northwestern Iowa.

Heimdal also works closely with local watershed alliances and is a partner with the Cooperative Lakes Area Monitoring Program, which collects data to better understand the ecology of Dickinson County lakes.

Education and outreach are a large part of Heimdal’s work. He conducts educational seminars and teaches local groups about water collection techniques. He also mentors externs (area school teachers) and interns, including high school and college students.

“I am honored to receive the Harry Grant Award from the IPHA,” said Heimdal. “Working for the Hygienic Lab in Coralville and now at Lakeside has allowed me many opportunities to interact with the public and other professionals, and discuss the importance of clean water in the State of Iowa.”

In the 35 years of the award, 16 environmental stewards have received the Harry Grant Award, including two from the Hygienic Laboratory: Nancy Hall, environmental microbiologist, in 2010, and Michael Wichman, former director of the environmental health division, in 2005.