NACWA Awards

Virtual classroom teaches wastewater treatment to Colorado and beyond

Metro Water Recovery wins industry award for work to educate a new generation on water stewardship 

a slide used in our virtual classrooms

DENVER — Metro Water Recovery has taken its education program to a new level with a virtual classroom experience teaching children about where their water goes. 

For this work, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies awarded Metro a 2024 National Environmental Achievement Award in the category of Public Information & Education: Education Program.  

“The virtual experience allows us to present to groups that are too large to host in person,” said Kelley Merritt, public information and education manager at Metro.  “We recently presented simultaneously to four classrooms at one school.” 

As the largest wastewater treatment provider in the Rocky Mountain West, Metro wants to provide this free educational resource to teachers to inform a new generation about what it takes to clean water. Through this classroom, Metro encourages students to be stewards of the South Platte River or their own local water resources. 

The virtual classroom experience is delivered on the Zoom platform and typically lasts about 30 minutes, followed by a real-time question and answer session. The format is flexible enough to accommodate content to align with the educator’s curriculum and can support specific areas of interest. 

“Because the virtual classroom is presented real-time, we can spend extra time on specific topics requested by the teachers,” Merritt said. 

Metro virtually engaged with about 25 classrooms during the 2022-2023 school year, equal to approximately 600 students. While there are plenty of classrooms to be reached in Metro’s 805-square-mile service area, schools as far as Wyoming and Tennessee are also learning about the wastewater treatment process. 

About Metro Water Recovery 

Metro Water Recovery was formed under Colorado law in 1961. Metro is the largest resource recovery and clean water agency in the Rocky Mountain West, serving approximately 2.2 million people in an 805 square-mile area. In partnership with 62 local governments, including municipalities and special districts, we clean millions of gallons of water every day to be suitable for agriculture, aquatic life, recreation, and water supply. 

Contact: Amy Lovatt
Public Information Specialist 
C: 719-661-8048 O: 720-400-8633