Staffers Become Actors and Narrators for This Video on the Workings of a Treatment Plant

An award-winning video from a Colorado utility kept the public informed on wastewater process during the pandemic.

Staffers Become Actors and Narrators for This Video on the Workings of a Treatment Plant

The South Platte Renew highlighted the daily tasks of operators such as Steve Molnar, shown collecting a sample from a clarifier.

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For over 40 years the South Platte Renew wastewater treatment plant sent clean effluent to the South Platte River.

When the COVID virus hit, the utility wanted to keep its education efforts going for residents and stakeholders. The answer was a 10-minute video on the workings of the plant and how it helps its communities and the ecosystem.

South Platte Renew is the third-largest water treatment plant in Colorado. Located in Englewood, the utility serves that city, Littleton and 19 surrounding communities, home to a total of some 300,000 residents. Owned and operated by Littleton and Englewood, it treats about 20 mgd.

Creating the video

“We have always had a three-pronged approach to our outreach, and it was something we took very seriously,” says Kacie Allard, deputy director of business solutions. “The approach included public tours of our facility, joining in community sponsored events to showcase what we do at the plant, and classroom visits. The video fit in nicely with all of these.”

The South Platte Renew staff stepped up to the plate and put the script together. Except for the narrator, all people in the video were staff members: operators, mechanics, engineers, lab chemists, pretreatment team members, beneficial use operators and members of the administration. The video highlights on the importance of all these roles.

The outreach and education team wanted the video to contain a virtual tour so as to keep tours in front of residents, students learning from home and classrooms that still had in-person learning. An outside production company took video and still images and put the video together. The whole process took three months.

Virtual tour 

The video opens with utility statistics and metrics. It then explains what wastewater is, where it comes from, how it is cleaned and where it ends up: the cleaned water into the South Platte River, the biosolids to fertilize corn and wheat crops, and biogas converted to natural gas to help heat residents’ homes. The video details all the major areas of the plant:


-Primary clarification

-Trickling filters

-Solids contact tank

-Secondary clarification

-Nitrifying trickling filters


-Finals building

“It was also helpful in explaining what we do at the facility to our council members from Littleton and Englewood, who might not be familiar,” says Allard. “It will be a tremendous help to create a deeper understanding of our organization when seeking funding to upgrade aging infrastructure and to meet more stringent regulatory requirements.”

A surprising benefit of the video was for job applicants. Since the video is on the websites of the utility and several partners, applicants can view it and come prepared to their interviews.

Mission accomplished

As of late 2021, the video had been viewed by more than 500 students, teachers, parents, residents, partners and council members.

“We’re really hitting a wide audience, and because it is on multiple social media sites including both Littleton’s and Englewood’s, we’re getting a lot of views,” says Allard. “Water conservation seems to be what most people see promoted, but now they can see the importance of the other side of the water cycle.”

The video won a 2021 National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ award under the Public Information and Education E-media category.

“There are a lot of acronyms and industry terms in wastewater,” Allard says. “The video gave us the opportunity to spell them out and keep them on the screen long enough so that the viewers could learn what they all are and how important they are to the wastewater process.”   


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