The North Coast Section of the California Water Environment Association presented the “Treatment Plant of the Year” award to the City of Rio Dell and Mr. Rick Chicora, Wastewater Superintendent. The award ceremony took place during a November 7th banquet at the River Lodge in Fortuna, assembling dozens of water technicians from across the state.
“I’m very excited to receive the award.”, stated Rick Chicora. “Six years ago the Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the city to update our wastewater infrastructure. It’s been a long six years since then with a lot of expenses being borne by our ratepayers, the citizens of Rio Dell. However, we have one of the premiere wastewater treatment plants in Northern California, and this award shows that.” The City’s old plant had not been updated since the 1970s and the cost to update the plant to modern requirements exceeded the cost to build a new one.
The plant helps remove ammonia and nitrates from Rio Dell wastewater, meeting or exceeding federal EPA standards. The system can handle one million gallons a day, providing plenty of capacity for future growth in the city. “The sludge is converted to a completely safe fertilizer, ready to be used for agriculture, landscaping, or any regular use. Not many plants recycle this into something useful. The treated water itself is pumped to nearby agricultural fields and used to irrigate hay production.”, Chicora concluded.
“We now have a plant that will last 30+ years, crossing an important hurdle in order to secure future growth in Rio Dell well into the future while protecting the river that surrounds this city.”, stated Kyle Knopp, Rio Dell’s City Manager. “This award is something we want to share with the entire community. We invite residents to give us a call and take a tour of the facility.”
Citizens are invited to call (707) 764-3532 to set up a tour time. Individual tour requests will be grouped together with other requests.