Editor’s note: Tara K., Resource Recovery Facilities Manager, and her fellow wastewater employees at Colorado Springs Utilities oversee one of the most complex wastewater treatment and collection systems in the region. They manage approximately 40 million gallons of wastewater a day at three resource recovery or wastewater treatment facilities: 1,700 miles of collection pipe; 35,000 manhole covers; 19 lift stations; and more than 370 locations where wastewater pipes cross local creeks.
When it comes to wastewater, most of us don’t give a second thought to what happens after we use water in our homes or at work. However, for wastewater employees, after we flush or send water down a drain, their job is just getting started. These skilled men and women operate proudly behind the scenes to make sure our wastewater keeps flowing. I can’t imagine life without them! Thankfully, for one week each April, wastewater workers around the United States are recognized for their hard work and dedication to a career that manages something no one else wants to deal with – our wastewater.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper declared April 16-20, 2018, Wastewater Worker Recognition Week. Colorado Springs Utilities’ robust and reliable wastewater system, and the employees who operate it, are the first lines of defense in protecting local waterways from contaminants that could endanger both humans and wildlife and ensuring clean water is released to our environment and delivered to customers for further use. Over the years, these same workers and the facilities they manage have received industry-wide recognition for safety, performance, innovation, and leadership.
You may ask yourself, why would someone decide to be a wastewater professional? Over my 17-year Springs Utilities career, these workers have shown me passion and dedication for the work they do. They are problem solvers who often work in less than ideal conditions around the clock. Their work often goes unnoticed, but they tend to like it that way. They are a humble group who prides themselves on exceeding customer expectations and keeping our wastewater flowing – every day of the year.