Jan Wilking, chairman of the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District s board of trustees, was given the National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Jan Wilking, chairman of the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District s board of trustees, was given the National Association of Clean Water Agencies National Environmental Achievement Award on Feb. 3. (Photo courtesy of Christa Graff)

Jan Wilking helped to start the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District (SBWRD) in the mid-70's and has been dedicated to the community since. For his work with the district, he has also received a national environmental award for his work with the clean water community.

Wilking received the National Environmental Achievement Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), which was presented to him at the group's annual conference on Feb. 3 in Santa Fe, N.M.

SBWRD General Manager Michael Luers attested to the importance of Wilking's award.

"[NACWA] is not an association that hands out these awards willy-nilly," Luers said. "Jan has been on the Board since the seventies and has really shepherded the district for many years."

According to a SBWRD release, the award recognizes officials "who have displayed particular and continuing awareness of the challenges facing the clean water community." Wilking said the award took him by surprise.

"My feeling is that the reason why I received the award is the quality of the staff that we have at the district and how well the staff runs the district," Wilking said. "We continue to get so many national awards, whether it's [for] safety or [having] no violations of our permits."

Wilking was involved with starting SBWRD when he served on the Park City Council from 1973-77 and has also been involved with the Mountain Trails Foundation and local open space advisory committees. Luers said he has a great dedication to providing wastewater services to the community.

"[Jan] insists that we not defer maintenance on the [wastewater] system because he recognizes that any system will experience wear and tear and it's much more cost-protective to keep up with that maintenance rather than put it off," Luers said.

With Wilking's guidance, Luers said the district was the first utility in the state to have a tertiary treatment plant, which further improves effluent quality before sending it out. Wilking also ensures that new water lines that are put in by developers are installed at a high standard so problems do not arise from poor construction, he said.

Providing high-quality wastewater treatment services at a reasonable cost to residents is also important to Wilking.

"One of the things that's very important is that we're very financially responsible in making sure we can provide the service. We have two large expansions of both of our treatment plants coming up that will be very expensive between $30 and $40 million," Wilking said. "We want to make sure we're in a position that we can go ahead and do that expansion and provide a service at the lowest rates we possibly can."

Luers calls Wilking a "steward for the citizens of our community" but also confirms his humility.

"He's been one of these guys that gets a lot done, but he doesn't do it for the recognition," Luers said.