Face Of City Utilities: Jen Pickett, Ray Peterson, & Kimberly Jirava, The City of Fargo

Written by: Fargo Inc Staff

The City of Fargo’s Recycling Coordinator Jen Pickett has been a champion of sustainability for Team Fargo for more than eight years.

According to Pickett, the participation rate in recycling for Fargo residents has gone from 65% to 90% since 2017. Before single-sort recycling, The City of Fargo used to collect 1,200 tons per year. Now the City collects more than 4,500 tons per year. That’s 9,000,000 pounds of recyclables removed from the landfill.

“I wish people knew plastic bags can be recycled at many grocery stores,” says Pickett. “They often are turned into post-consumer products, and some of them are even turned into Trex composite lumber for decking products.”

Ray Peterson joined Team Fargo all the way back in 1970 as a night operator at the wastewater plant. He has been a supervisor there for the past 25 years.

Peterson says technology has advanced significantly in his half-century of public service.

“When I started in 1970, the flow at the wastewater plant was only three million gallons per day; now sixteen million gallons per day is common,” says Peterson. A new plant is under construction that will be able to handle fifty million gallons per day to help with regionalization and growth.

Kimberly Jirava joined Team Fargo in 2003, spending ten years as a Medical Lab Technician for Fargo Cass Public Health. In 2013, she joined the Water Treatment department. Today she is one of four chemists at the Water Treatment Plant who work diligently to provide safe, high-quality water to the region.

Jirava’s typical week involves preparing equipment, collecting a wide variety of samples, and conducting state-mandated testing. “We take part in a lot of lab testing to find and eliminate contaminants and other unwanted compounds,” says Jirava. “We all work together really well.”

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