Thorsby receives award for wastewater compliance

Published 3:06 pm Friday, June 4, 2010

By Scott Mims

The town of Thorsby has received an Operational Excellence Award for its lagoon wastewater treatment system.

The Alabama Water Environment Association (AWEA), a chapter of the national Water Environment Association, presented Thorsby Water Superintendent Terry Jackson with the award at a recent conference.

Thorsby has gone 12 years without a permit violation, according to AWEA representative Grady Parsons.

“It just proves that our guys are doing their job,” Jackson said. “This is not any one person’s effort. I could not do it by myself.”

A lagoon system is a series of ponds into which wastewater flows. The water is treated naturally through bacteria and settling, and no chemicals are added. Thorsby utilizes four ponds; three are collection ponds and the fourth serves as a “polishing cell,” or reservoir, which holds the water before it is released into Yellowleaf Creek.

Jackson said if you could trace a gallon of water through the system, it would take about 30 days for the gallon to get from one pond to the next.

The town has used the system since the early ’80s, and Jackson has served as superintendent for about 15 years. This is the first award they have applied for and won, Jackson said.

“Thorsby has had many years of compliance with their system, and that’s really commendable,” Parsons said. “They’ve had an outstanding run, you might say. The water they discharge is very high quality water.”

AWEA presents awards in several different categories each year. Thorsby falls in the category of Public/Private Domestic Lagoon Systems. The criteria for winning an award involves technical aspects as well as compliance with EPA permits administered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

“Terry understands that system,” Parsons said. “He understands the requirements. He’s not putting out fires all the time; he’s got it under control.”