"If I didn't have the team I've got now, then I wouldn't have gotten the award," he said. "There's a lot of good operators out there in the state, I'm glad the city of Nicholasville gives us the equipment we need and the funding we need to properly treat the waste so we can put it back into the environment as clean water."
During Bugg's 16-year career, he's seen just about everything imaginable.
"Every toilet that is flushed, everything that goes down a sanitary sewer drain ends up at the wastewater plant," he said.
Although the city's water services have received numerous awards and recognition through the years, Bugg's award marks one of the few individual awards employees of the city have received, according to Utilities Director Tom Calkins.
"It's of no surprise to me," he said of Bugg's award. "We've had various awards for the Kentucky/Tennessee area for outstanding operations at water plants and wastewater plants, but in my tenure, we've never had an individual recognized."
Bugg, a Lebanon, Ky., native began his career in wastewater following graduation from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry in 1989. But in reality, his experience goes further back in his life.
"I was born and raised on a farm, so the smell, the "manure," wasn't a problem for me. I was used to it," he said. "I have learned as much on a farm as I did in college. Some people say farming gave me common sense and college gave me book sense."
It was the book sense which landed him his first job out of college.
"I was looking for a job right after I got out of college, and I opened up the Winchester Sun and saw superintendent for a wastewater treatment plant. I though, hmmm."
Unlike his counterparts at the water plant, Bugg is into bacteria.
"It's a bacteriological process," he said. "Whereas if you went to a water plant, that's a chemical process. That's the two biggest differences."
Another difference is the end result. Bugg's goal is to make the wastewater clean enough for aquatic life in the rivers and streams, while a water plant's goal is to make water drinkable for humans.
"I don't treat it up clean enough to drink," he said.
To accomplish his goal, Bugg turns to live bacteria and oxygen. The balance, however, must be exact.
"The bacteria that are in the oxidation ditch, they use the sewage as a food source," he said. "Think of it like this. If I have a bunch of teenagers that ate a lot of cheeseburgers everyday, I'd have to balance the number of cheeseburgers I have with the number of teenagers I have."
The balancing act would be easy, if the number of each remained a constant, but that does not happen.
"The sewage that I get, I have no control over it," he said. "But I've got to be able to treat whatever comes down the pipes, whether it be industrial waste or human waste ... I've got to treat it."
On average, the Jessamine Creek plant treats about 2 million gallons per day, while the city's older station on Brown Street averages 1.3 gallons.
So the more cheeseburgers [sewage], the more teenagers [bacteria] is needed.
Bugg's job usually does not come with much fanfare. More often that not, it's when something goes wrong that people take notice. But Bugg keeps things in perspective.
"As long as it don't stink, people don't know where you're at, and that's fine with me," he joked.