An Indiana clean-water plant changes its name to reflect the facility’s actual function: Resource recovery

What used to be called the Shelbyville (Ind.) Wastewater Treatment Plant is now the Shelbyville Water Resource Recovery Facility.

The new name, effective Jan. 1, fulfills the wish of the Water Environment Federation, which now uses that term routinely, in place of “wastewater treatment plant,” in all its official communications. The name better reflects what treatment plants actually do, which is recover clean water, nutrients and energy.

“People think of wastewater, they think, it’s a waste, they’re going to get rid of it, but water is a renewable resource. It’s the same water we’ve had for four billion years,” plant superintendent Brad Fix told the Shelbyville News. “So water comes into the plant, it’s going to be drinking water for somebody else someday.”

Related: Guest Blog: The Fire Chief Project: The Amazing Power of a Wastewater Plant Tour

The Shelbyville plant captured and burns methane from its anaerobic digesters to heat the digestion process.

Name changes of this kind tend to elevate the profession and help fulfill the two aims of The Fire Chief Project:

  • Raise clean-water operators to the status of the fire chief.
  • Make kids grow up wanting to be clean-water operators.

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