SILT, Colorado - A statewide association has recently concluded that this town's 10-year-old wastewater treatment system is the best in the state of Colorado.
And while some may see irony in a town named Silt winning a statewide prize for effluent purity, town officials here have swelled with pride.
"The Town of Silt's wastewater treatment plant has been selected as Wastewater System of the Year for 2012 by the Colorado Rural Water Association (CRWA)," boasted a written statement from Town Administrator Pamela Woods.
The award was presented during the CRWA's annual conference in Colorado Springs on Feb. 13, Woods stated, adding, "The team at Silt's water and wastewater plants strives to provide excellent service to their community."
The process of wastewater treatment, in general, takes in water and other wastes from activities such as washing, bathing, use of the toilet, as well as rainwater runoff, and renders it suitable for discharge back into the environment, after removing certain bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants.
According to Woods, the prize is handed out to one of 2,800 licensed systems around the state, and the selection criteria include: No regulatory violations; a maintenance system that keeps the facilities in "excellent condition;" provision for employee advancement; training and recognition; maintaining a strong budget within budgetary guidelines; producing safe, clear effluent water year round; and being held in high esteem by the community it serves," among other qualities.
Silt's wastewater treatment plant, built in 2003 at a cost of approximately $4 million, operates under an "Aero-Mod" system involving activated sludge with biological nutrient removal, Woods reported. She said the town's water plant was built at about the same time, at a cost of $2.1 million.
The bio-solids produced by the system are dewatered using a belt press and sent to a composting facility north of Delta.
Utilities director Jack Castle, who has been with the town for eight years and is in charge of the plant's operation, said the award was a welcome surprise.
He explained that the plant's operators had not done anything different last year, compared to previous years.
"It's the recognition of our peers," he said of the award, acknowledging that the plant gets no benefit beyond bragging rights.
Woods, addressing why it took a decade for the recognition of the town's plant, noted with pride that there are 2,800 possible recipients of the award every year.
"If it only took us 10 years, out of that many, I think that's excellent," she declared.