Hilton Head PSD and Hickman earn statewide honors

Hilton Head Public Service District (PSD) earned the Facility of Excellence Award from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), its Water Quality Supervisor, Sarah Hickman, was recognized with the Crystal Crucible Award, and a statewide asset management workshop hosted by the PSD earned recognition. The awards were presented by the Water Environment Association of South Carolina (WEASC) at this month’s South Carolina Environmental Conference.

DHEC’s Facility of Excellence Award recognizes environmental protection and regulatory compliance at the PSD’s Recycled Water Plant on Oak Park Drive. The plant annually recycles about 1 billion gallons of treated wastewater, producing beneficial recycled water that is then used for golf course irrigation and wetlands nourishment, with zero discharge to area waterways.

“The PSD’s Recycled Water Plant plays a vital role in the sustainability of our delicate island environment,” said PSD General Manager Pete Nardi. “The professionals at the PSD are ensuring that our interior wetland habitats continue to help wildlife and plant and tree species flourish, while also helping to preserve our water resources by providing our golf industry with high-quality recycled water for course irrigation.”

The Crystal Crucible Award recognizes individuals for significant contributions which promotes professionalism, pride, and distinguished ideals among those working in water and wastewater analysis. Hickman supervises the PSD’s Water Quality Laboratory. She has volunteered for many years to compete in, organize, and judge the WEASC’s Operations Challenge competitions, where wastewater professionals compete as teams in various industry-related categories, including pipe repair, treatment process controls, confined space rescue, laboratory, and pump maintenance.

Hickman and Lindie Aragon of City of Westminster (CO) will form a two-person team to compete this May in the operations challenge at IFAT Munich, the world’s leading trade fair for wastewater and environmental technologies. Hickman was selected to compete by the Water Environment Federation, the leading wastewater trade association for North America, and the team is sponsored by Empowering Brands, a communications consultant company for non-profit organizations around the world.

“Sarah Hickman is a leading example for all water professionals here in South Carolina and our nation,” said Nardi. “She embodies a volunteerism spirit that helps her colleagues thrive in our industry and has a tremendous ripple effect for Hilton Head PSD and utilities around our state. We congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.”

The PSD hosted the WEASC’s statewide Asset Management Workshop in 2023 and its success earned the WEASC’s Joint Asset Management Committee the annual Education Award. The PSD’s Pete Nardi is a member of the committee and has served as its secretary. PSD Administrative Assistant Connie Whitehead helped organize the workshop, which brought water and wastewater professionals from around South Carolina to the island to learn best practices in utility asset management.

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