THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) — The South Platte River that runs through Denver has not been the cleanest river in recent years, for man or fish. However, that is now changing as a coveted national award was given to a group that has been making the Platte a better place for fish.  

When one mentions the South Platte River, a pristine Rocky Mountain body of water does not come to mind.

“Yeah, it’s an urban river,” said Jordan Parman, senior water quality scientist.

The South Platte is essentially made up of treated household wastewater.

“Anything that goes down the pipe in your house, if you brush your teeth, flush the toilet, take a shower, do the dishes, laundry, household use, residential use,” said Parman.

Parman is a senior water quality scientist and a member of the Metro Water Recovery team that has been cleaning certain aspects of the South Platte River. That is great news for the creek chub, sand shiner, Johnny darter and longnose dace. Those are not names of rock bands but of native Colorado fish. 

“What we are doing is adding complexity, changing the depth, having multiple different kinds of depths of flow, and different velocities of flow. Each kind of fish species likes different kinds of microhabitats,” said Parman.

The multi-year and multi-million dollar project has caught the eye of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. They will be awarding Metro Water Recovery their annual coveted award.

“It’s good to be recognized as stewards of the river,” said Parman.

And that is a pretty nice catch.