Thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of water and wastewater operators across the country, clean, safe water continued flowing – even amid a global pandemic. Garver launched the Behind-the-Scenes Operators Initiative to give an inside look at what it takes to supply our communities with reliable water services.

Serving Central Arkansas through COVID-19

Solving puzzles all day sounds like an interesting job for anyone who likes challenges, and that’s exactly what George does every day as an operator. Running a distribution system that serves central Arkansas requires some unique critical thinking to keep a complex system running. That’s what called George to his role as an operator. “There are always new problems to overcome, and it can be exciting and fun.”

He most enjoys working with his coworkers to provide high quality water to the people of central Arkansas. George holds the license of grade four operator, which is one of the highest licensing grades for operators. And not only does George run all the production facilities, but he also does cross training for staff in the Water Quality Department.

Like most utilities, they’ve noticed changes in flows and staffing because of the pandemic. Flows from the community have increased while downtown business districts have decreased due to people staying home. But that hasn’t changed how George and his team run the system or their quality of service.

There were, however, changes to staffing. Central Arkansas Water put COVID measures into place that required masks 24/7 and operators to be in separate areas, not allowing staff to congregate in one location. These changes required their meetings to go digital, because despite the pandemic, George’s team still had to be able to communicate changes from one shift to another.

In addition to staffing challenges during COVID, George’s team faced a flood in their pump house that required switching equipment around to get the water out of the pump house and keep water flowing through the system. Their Ozark plant had to be taken down several times to do improvements and redesign. Thankfully, they had two plants, which meant one could always stay online when the other was down for repairs, keeping water flowing to the community.

George and his team work hard to keep their plants running safely and efficiently. Their dedication keeps central Arkansas communities provided with diligent service every day. As George says, “It takes a lot of people to have water at your sink every day. It takes incredible teamwork and innovative processes. From biologists to operators, they all have a role that’s vital to the quality and operability of our system.”

The Operators

Shannon Bailey

Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

Starting as a maintenance mechanic, Shannon Bailey climbed the ranks and now runs one of the largest wastewater plants in the state of Alabama.

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Ryan Bart

Norman Water Reclamation Facility

Ryan Bart was immediately fascinated by the intricate workings of wastewater treatment. Now, he manages a facility that treats 17 million gallons of water daily for Norman, Oklahoma.

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Ben Hodges

Upper Trinity Regional Water District

While Ben Hodges takes pride in his work, he takes even greater pride in his dedicated team. Through their continued commitment to quality service, Ben and his team keep the water flowing for their community.

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Joe Mann

Holly Water Treatment Plants

Joe Mann began his career at 19 and now serves as Water Superintendent for two facilities that provide the City of Fort Worth with a combined capacity of 180 million gallons of water per day.

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Phillip Scruggs

Pflugerville Wastewater Treatment Plant

Phillip Scruggs is passionate about not only the science behind providing safe wastewater treatment to his community of Pflugerville, Texas, but the teamwork it takes to keep his plant running smoothly.

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Sharon Surra

Daphne Water Reclamation Facility

Sharon Surra has dedicated the past 43 years to providing dedicated water and wastewater services to communities across the country – including New England, Texas, and now Alabama.

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Jody Zabolio

Upper Trinity Regional Water District

Operating a regional utility of six facilities that serves a growing region of North Texas takes a team of great skill and dedication. And Jody Zabolio provides his expert team with the leadership necessary to continue their quality services.

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Garver’s Water Services Team is proud to partner with operators across the country in providing safe, reliable water to the communities we call home.

Let’s connect! We’d love to share more about what our Water Services Team can do for you.

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