STPUD feted for being best-managed utility district in America
The South Tahoe Public Utility District has been awarded national first place for its exceptional Operations and Management Program by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a spokesman for the district said Tuesday.
The EPA made the announcement Friday, choosing STPUD from among 10 finalists selected from all 50 states.
“It was pretty stiff competition,” said Dennis Cocking, STPUD information officer. “The district is very proud to have received this award for the second time.”
The same EPA award was given to the district in 1994, and earlier this year it was named Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year for California.
STPUD received the recognition for its innovative and cost-effective water treatment program in the non-discharging category. A three-member EPA team inspected STPUD’s water-treatment site before announcing the award.
“This award serves to underscore the commitment the district has made achieving cost-efficiency for our customers and innovative treatment practices to protect and preserve Lake Tahoe’s unique environment,” said Ross Johnson, manager of wastewater operations in the district.
Unlike the majority of utility districts in the country, STPUD doesn’t discharge its wastewater into a river or the ocean. Instead, it recycles its wastewater, which is later used for irrigation purposes.
Every year, STPUD channels 2 billion gallons of recycled water to Harvey Place Reservoir through a pipeline that travels 26 miles from South Lake Tahoe to Alpine County.
The water, which is disinfected, is stored in the reservoir during the winter when demand for irrigation water is low. In the summer, the water is discharged to irrigate pasture land and alfalfa fields.
A three-member delegation of employees, led by Johnson, will accept the award on behalf of the district on Oct. 15 at the 74th Annual Water Environment Federation Conference being held in Atlanta.
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