Glenwood employee wins Waste Water Treatment Operator of the Year award |

Glenwood employee wins Waste Water Treatment Operator of the Year award

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A cluttered desk is the mark of a genius. If the sign bearing those words in Buddy Burns’ office is true, he’s definitely a genius.Burns is the superintendent of Water and Waste Water Treatment for Glenwood Springs. He started with the city in 1977. On Tuesday he went to an awards banquet at the Doubletree Hotel in Colorado Springs to receive the 2006 Waste Water Treatment Operator of the Year award. The Colorado Rural Water Association accepts nominations and picks a winner each year.”It means he’s the best waste water treatment operator in Colorado,” his co-worker Jerry Wade said. “He’s as good a person as you’ll ever meet in your entire life.”The two have worked with one another for nearly 30 years.”He’s a real dedicated employee,” Wade said. “He goes home when the work gets done.”Burns said of the award: “It means a lot to me.” But he couldn’t help mentioning that Wade has also won a similar award twice for Water Treatment Operator of the Year.The 30 years have seen their share of trying times.”We had a major flood event in the city,” he said. “It basically filled up all our tanks with mud.”He said the flood, around 1979 or 1980, forced the plant to just bypass all the sewage into the Colorado River. Burns remembers working around the clock for seven days. Mud seven to eight feet deep had to be pumped out of the tanks.How is it, working in the treatment plant by the river, with certain … odors?You get used to it, he said. You don’t smell a thing.Glenwood Springs wants to get rid of the treatment plant on Seventh Street and move it into West Glenwood, Burns said. The city would build a new, regional facility with activated sludge technology where the Chatfield house used to be. The tentative plan is to begin in 2012 and complete it by 2017, he added.Activated sludge would make the job more challenging and interactive, Burns said. That mechanism affords increased opportunity for control compared to the rotating biological contactor technology at the current plant.”I’d like to run an activated sludge plant,” Burns said.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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