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.
Capacity expansion amid a global pandemic
As anyone in a field of science could tell you, once you experience it, you fall in love with science. And that’s just what happened to Phillip. Becoming an operator was an opportunity presented to him by a friend, and after getting started, he fell in love with it. Because with the science comes a lot of teamwork, operators, biologists, technicians, and maintenance workers, all necessary to keep the plant functioning properly.
Every day, Phillip walks through the plant from start to finish, checking every system and all equipment, making sure no issues are occurring and providing leadership to his team. After walking the whole plant every day, Phillip knows every detail like the back of his hand, which means he can step into any role on the plant to provide support as needed or when he’s down a team member.
Like many treatment plants, Phillip and the wastewater operations team faced some challenges this past year, but most were due to operational issues and running the plant during a capacity expansion. Because of Pflugerville’s population growth, the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant is being expanded for more capacity to support the city’s growth.
Additionally, Phillip’s aeration basin had equipment that went down last year. Essentially, an aeration basin pumps air into a tank to promote the growth of microbial bugs that feed on the organic material in the wastewater, which helps clean the water. When the aeration basin’s equipment went down, Phillip and the wastewater operations team immediately responded and got it back online quickly by reaching out to resources to get the necessary repair parts. Due to their quick response, the city never had an interruption of service.
The pandemic has, however, increased flows to the plant, putting a strain on the plant during expansion and an already lean crew. But Phillip and the wastewater operations team have handled it like they do any challenge, with critical thinking and ingenuity. If it requires staff to run equipment all night with constant monitoring, then that’s what they do. The wastewater operations team does what’s necessary to make sure the community isn’t negatively impacted by the increased flows. Their commitment is what keeps the plant running properly and efficiently for the City of Pflugerville.
“It’s an important job, and my team does all they can to provide quality service to the public.”
Once Pflugerville’s plant expansion has finished, Phillip and the wastewater operations team will have a plant with the capacity to assist with the increased flows and support the community’s continued growth. He looks forward to being able to better serve the people of Pflugerville and increasing his plant’s capabilities.