San Antonio Recognized Nationally; Receives Highest Honors
San Antonio recently received national recognition by two separate water organizations.
The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) presented the 2012 Award for Excellence in Innovation for achieving the clean water trifecta – a quest that began more than 15 years ago.
Today, the Dos Rios Water Recycling Center manages an environmental trifecta by
- Recycling highly treated effluent water in the nation’s largest water recycling system for industrial use and commercial landscaping,
- Capturing biogas generated during the sewage treatment process and selling it through a commercial gas pipeline—the first sustainable project of its kind in the nation, and
- Marketing organic compost made from the remaining solids from the treatment process.
San Antonio is the only city in the United States with major programs that cost effectively reuses all three wastewater treatment process byproducts. Additionally, two solar farms generate electricity on a plant site, and a feasibility evaluation for hydropower is ongoing.
A WERF press release cites SAWS goal of turning waste into valuable resources as resonating well with their objectives to help the water quality industry embrace a different view of wastewater, and sets a strong example for many members to strive to achieve.
In a separate award ceremony, the Association for Water Efficiency (AWE) recognized Director of Conservation Karen Guz with the 2012 Water Star Award. The award is for individual excellence in water efficiency. An AWE press release states that the organization wishes to celebrate the "unsung hero" and quiet water conservation practitioner working in the trenches to make a difference through their dedication, passion and progressive approach.
Water Star award winners receive this recognition from nominations by their peers.
Guz, in turn, recognized her SAWS staff for their efforts. "I had the honor of accepting this award for water conservation staff. Our employees work with customers daily helping them save water in their homes and landscapes, administering commercial and residential programs, explaining rebates, and enforcing water ordinances. There is not a week that goes by when I don’t get a gushing compliment from a customer or stakeholder about the wonderful work our staff does. I am incredibly lucky to work in water conservation and with a team of talented, smart people who care about what they do."
In addition to listing Guz's conservation program achievements, her professional affiliations and comments by Robert R. Puente, SAWS president and CEO, and Charles Ahrens, SAWS vice president of Water Resources and Conservation, were also noted.
"Karen’s expertise and professionalism has helped put San Antonio on the international map for water efficiency," Puente stated. "Her tireless service to the people of San Antonio and Texas are a shining example of the positive impact a single person can have on a sustainable future."
SOURCE: San Antonio Water System