With less than two dozen employees on site -- a small staff compared to other plants around the state --the crew from the Northern Gila County Sanitary District has once again proven itself to be an effective player in the sanitation business.
At the May 5 awards banquet of the Arizona Water and Pollution Control Association, the local sanitary district received the Small System award for significant efforts to control water pollution and protect the environment.
At the same banquet, District General Manager Joel Goode was honored by the Water Environmental Federation and was inducted into the Quarter Century Operators Club.
"It was a big achievement for us," said Goode. "Even more so, since we won this same award 10 years ago." Goode said the award is the result of a dedicated crew and an insightful board that led his plant to success.
"We're very fortunate that we have a board of directors that isn't afraid to try new things," he said. For instance, when the district was approached as a test site for the Bardenpho process - the process which turns bio-solids into fertilizer - the board was eager to give it a try.
"That process was first developed in South Africa, and the Payson plant was the first to use this technology in the western United States," Goode said. The success of the Bardenpho process has provided the district with another -- albeit meager-- source of revenue.
"We're able to produce roughly 1 1/2 tons a day of the fertilizer. Most of the buyers we've contacted are looking for 1,000 tons a day," Goode said. "It's going to take some time to find our niche in the market."
Presently, the fertilizer is being used by local customers such as Chaparral Pines and the Rim Club, on the high school ballfields and at Green Valley Park.
"Even though we're small, we're constantly striving to do things that will be good for the community," Goode said. "We're very fortunate to have the support of our board and a dymanic staff."