The Unsung Heroes of Water Reclamation

Cholera, dysentery, typhoid, oh, my! These diseases often pose a threat in developing countries that lack sanitation services.  Fortunately for Athenians and most Americans, we have state-of-the-art water reclamation systems designed to remove the harmful microorganisms and parasites responsible for such deadly diseases.  The treatment processes found at these facilities also remove pollutants that are harmful to our water resources, aquatic life, and environment. The water you send down the drain each and every day is reclaimed, refreshed, and returned safely to our local waterways.

Harold Green is the supervisor for the Cedar Creek WRF.

Harold Green is the supervisor for the Cedar Creek WRF.

So who are the people providing us with wastewater services that keep our waters clean and protect our quality of life? In this and upcoming blogs, I would like to introduce you to a few of the dedicated Public Utilities Department employees who have taken on these indispensable jobs in the Athens, GA area.  Lucky for us, these unsung heroes are performing essential – and often not so glamorous – tasks that are vital to the health of our community. They make sure you have safe and reliable wastewater services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.Today we start with the water reclamation facility supervisors, who ensure that the water you send down the drain is properly cleaned and safe before being returned to the source. Not only do they help protect our environment in Athens-Clarke County, but their work also helps safeguard the quality of water sources for communities downstream from us.  The responsibility is huge – our three complex, state-of-the art facilities operate 24 hours a  day and are capable of treating a total of up to 28  million gallons of wastewater a day!

Jameson Goolsby supervises the flow at the Middle Oconee WRF.
Jameson Goolsby supervises the flow at the Middle Oconee WRF.

Our supervisors have a thorough knowledge of all federal, state, and local wastewater treatment standards, regulations, and policies. Their technical skills extend from performing standard chemical tests to the ability to operate and maintain the wide variety of equipment used. They oversee all plant operations, monitor the treatment processes, and make adjustments as needed to consistently produce high quality reclaimed water. Under their watchful eyes, all processes run smoothly and meet or exceed environmental regulations.  In addition to supervising the technical operations, they also are responsible for staff management.  As skilled administrative managers, they ensure proper safety and training, appropriate work assignments, and efficient work shift schedules.

Our water reclamation facility supervisors are integral to providing the sanitation services that are critical to a safe and healthy quality of life for our community. They, along with many others, keep the terrible three – cholera, dysentery, and typhoid – from plaguing our area.  They are, indeed, unsung heroes!

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