Scottsdale Water has announced that WateReuse Arizona has awarded Water Quality Director Suzanne Grendahl and Water Reclamation Services Director David Walby co-winners of Person of the Year for 2021.
Grendahl and Walby received recognition for their pioneer efforts to establish Arizona’s first Direct Potable Reuse permit at the Advanced Water Treatment Plant that launched in 2019. This groundbreaking achievement has paved the way and created a blueprint for utilities across the country to secure reused water resources for future, long-term sustainability, according to a press release.
The DPR at Scottsdale Water took 18 months to acquire with no established application or criteria yet instituted in the state. It was only the third facility in the country to accomplish this milestone and one of several factors in selecting two people for this one-person award.
Nominated by Executive Director Brian Biesemeyer, Grendahl and Walby were selected due to their relentless diligence, extensive knowledge in their fields and leadership collaboration that helped solidify the landmark reuse permit.
“These two are some of the hardest working experts in the industry,” said Biesemeyer. “They took up the challenge of getting our process modifications designed, built and permitted in 18 months and made it happen. This is an amazing accomplishment when you think of the significance of being the first direct potable reuse facility in Arizona.”
The WateReuse Person of the Year Award is bestowed upon an individual who demonstrates leadership and inspires others to use water recycling to create resilient and safe water supplies. This year, due to the collaborate efforts of Grendahl and Walby, the organization presented the award to two individuals.
Receiving the award, Walby said, “It is a significant honor to receive the WateReuse Person of the Year Award. I have had the great fortune of working with some of the most dedicated colleagues and coworkers in water reuse and for this, I am grateful. Without this great team, none of this would have been possible.”
Grendahl also attributes the recognition to a team effort, “This award is truly shared with David and our staff. Without their commitment and dedication, the DPR skid and permit would never have come together. We both have great teams and are proud to work with them.”
Grendahl and Walby’s efforts with the DPR also led to the 2019 One Water Brewing Showcase — the world’s first beer festival featuring only beer brewed with recycled water; the water was supplied from Scottsdale’s DPR system.
Grendahl and Walby received their awards at the Arizona WateReuse Symposium on July 27 in Flagstaff.