Meet Kevin Schmitz, one of Boxelder’s best

Kevin Schmitz
Kevin Schmitz
Kevin Schmitz, Boxelder Sanitation District (BSD) pretreatment technician.

On any given day you are likely to find Kevin Schmitz,  Boxelder Sanitation District (BSD) pretreatment technician, keeping a close eye on what goes down the drain. As the front line of defense for BSD’s industrial and commercial customers, Kevin takes his role in keeping dangerous chemicals and contaminants out of the Poudre River seriously.

Keeping the river pristine is a primary goal and of immense value for BSD and Kevin. Having been with BSD for three years, and in his role as a pretreatment technician for one year, Kevin is quick to note that wherever commercial customers deal with chemicals, he will be keeping a close eye to ensure all rules and regulations are followed.

“Everything I do is to ensure the safety and health of the Poudre River,” he said. “I’m the first line of defense against harmful water coming into the Poudre. Our primary objective is to put all treated wastewater in the Poudre cleaner than what is already there.”

In order to do that, Kevin and the team at BSD issue permits to companies enabling them to discharge approved and tested wastewater down the drain, while regulating other companies that have zero discharge permits. A zero discharge permit means that the chemicals produced at the facility must be disposed of properly by taking them offsite and not sending them down the drain.

Kevin, who is often out in the field working hand-in-hand with BSD customers, loves the variety of his job. He gets to be behind the scenes with customers who create everything from lawnmowers to fire trucks – things he never knew went on in Northern Colorado before working at BSD.

“I really enjoy seeing all the amazing stuff that gets built in Fort Collins,” Kevin said. “I had no idea there was such a wide variety of products that get built here; it’s just really cool to see.”

While Kevin and BSD have an Enforcement Response Plan, something BSD worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on, they are fortunate in that they don’t have to use it often and that companies in Fort Collins share in BSD’s goal of keeping the Poudre safe.

While Kevin has worked in a lot of jobs, he’s never found one like BSD where the team is so close that they are like family.

Here at BSD, we have a crew full of hardworking team members like Kevin working diligently to ensure that your wastewater needs are met. These are the unsung heroes of BSD – now the next time you see wastewater go down the drain you have a better glimpse into what we do here day-to-day for you.

Customer survey now available

Boxelder Sanitation District (BSD) wants to hear from you! We would appreciate it if you took just a moment to provide us your feedback for our Boxelder Customer Survey.

We would like to know what you think of our services so that we know where we are doing well and where we can improve. We will use your answers to continue to ensure you get the best customer experience possible from BSD. Thanks in advance for your time.

Take the survey here.

Boxelder monitors wastewater for early COVID-19 detection

As a longstanding member of the community, Boxelder Sanitation District (BSD) does more than just treat wastewater. BSD has a long history of collaboration with municipalities and water entities throughout Northern Colorado, supporting our neighbors in a variety of ways.

Our newest collaboration efforts involve participating in an innovative program to gather data to support state officials in COVID-19 monitoring and tracking.

BSD has joined 17 other wastewater utilities across Colorado, serving 60% of the state’s population, to participate in a COVID-19 wastewater surveillance collaborative funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). BSD is working with Colorado State University (CSU) and Metro State University (MSU) to develop a statewide wastewater surveillance system for testing of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The state has provided $520,000 in funding to ensure facilities such as BSD can provide an early warning, ranging from a matter of days to a week, to state and local health authorities. The system identifies significant changes that could indicate future COVID-19 outbreaks and potential virus hot spots.

Wastewater can tell you what is happening in the population. People with positive COVID-19 shed virus in their stool and the testing can detect traces of the virus. The idea is, if we see an increase in positive test results, it would provide a lead time for the health department and community to respond to a possible outbreak.

BSD is collecting samples from influent wastewater (water that has not yet been treated) twice a week. Those samples are then delivered to CSU for testing to track COVID-19 virus particles. Using that data, they can detect the prevalence of the disease in the community.

How it works

This innovative practice, which is being implemented around the world to detect the coronavirus, involves CDPHE working with wastewater facilities such as BSD to develop a sampling plan that documents where the samples are collected, procedures for collecting and preserving the sample and safety protocols for all employees involved in the process.

Once the samples are collected, CSU and MSU oversee the testing and documentation of the samples to see if COVID-19 is detected. Considering people can be carriers of the disease and not express any symptoms, the ability to detect COVID-19 in human waste is a valuable tool for scientists.

Without BSD’s contribution to this collaborative effort, the datasets would be incomplete and less effective when decision-makers analyze it. The data will not be directly released from BSD and will take time to be gathered as part of the collaborative program.

Future expansion

There is the potential for additional monitoring in the future for the program, depending on the lab’s capacity in the start-up. More monitoring means more data and more data means better-equipped health experts to defend against COVID-19 and other possible pandemics.

BSD is on the front lines of this innovative testing process that could eventually be installed in broader regions or in more specific areas if it is a success.

The possibility exists to institute such monitoring systems in places like care facilities and college dormitories, where there is a dense population of people that could get the disease if it were present.

In other BSD news

This fall BSD is upgrading its accounting software as part of our ongoing commitment of providing outstanding customer service.

As part of the upgrade, customers receiving statements in the mail will notice a few changes to the design of the bill. The new bills are expected to look like the sample shown here.

There will be no changes to the paperless statements provided by Xpress Bill Pay.

Options for paying your bill will remain the same. Customers are encouraged to sign up for automatic payment with Xpress Bill Pay. A link to Xpress is available on our website boxeldersanitation.org.

As always, if you have questions about your bill, please call us at 970-498-0604, or contact us at info@boxeldersanitation.org.

 

Boxelder expands to serve customers

Times are changing, and you have to adapt and change to keep up. It’s the same story for Boxelder Sanitation District (BSD). In order to ensure that your wastewater needs are met in an efficient affordable manner, we have to stay ahead of the changes our community is experiencing.

BSD is in the process of expanding its current wastewater treatment plant to meet the growing demand for wastewater treatment as well as changing regulations. With increasingly stringent limitations adopted by the State of Colorado, BSD completed a new treatment facility in 2013.

While this facility continues to perform well, in order to maintain compliance and meet new regulations, a second expansion is required. Construction on the expansion is currently underway and is slated for completion in summer 2021.

The new facility will include:

  • Expanded influent screening, grit removal and pumping
  • New anaerobic selector basin and oxidation ditches for biological nutrient removal
  • New final clarifiers
  • New anaerobic selector digesters
  • New solids handling process facility
  • Expanded and upgraded UV system
  • New wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operation building

These upgrades and additions are expected to increase operational efficiencies, meet future regulatory demands and accommodate future growth.

Funding for the project

You may wonder who is footing the bill for all of this. Rest easy, growth pays its own way here – there are no new fees to customers.

This expansion is financed by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA) State Revolving Fund. The CWRPDA is administered by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) with joint funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Colorado.

Project cost breakdown:

  • WWTP construction – $35 million
  • Project loan – $29 million, 30-year, 1.8 percent interest
  • District funds – $6 million from capital revenues from new development
  • Future loan payment support by new development Plant Investment Fee Revenue

What not to flush

We have come a long way from the lagoon system that we started with in 1965, however, as times change so must BSD to ensure that your wastewater needs are met. Help us take care of this new facility by only flushing the three “P’s” down the toilet – pee, poop and toilet paper. Everything else should go in the garbage:

  • Flushable wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Hygiene products
  • Old medication/pills
  • Diapers
  • Dental floss
  • Q-tips/cotton balls
  • Dead goldfish
  • Fats, oils & grease
  • Cigarette butts
  • Hair
  • Gum

Save time, pay online

Did you know that you can save time and pay your bills online? Sign up for Xpress Bill Pay and enjoy the secure and trusted way to pay your BSD bills. Also included when you sign up is a monthly eNewsletter, which includes all the latest news from Boxelder. Sign up now to stay in the know.

We trust Xpress Bill Pay to handle your account because they are the experts. They work closely with cities, governments and businesses across the country to offer you a seamless bill-paying experience. You can access it 24/7 from any device or enroll in automatic payments so you never have to stress missing a payment.

For all the latest BSD updates visit http://boxeldersanitation.org/.