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.

Power outages, a pandemic, and perseverance

Some of us are fortunate enough that our work becomes a passion. That happened to Ryan. After becoming an operator, he fell in love with the overall processes and how everything works together. When one piece isn’t working correctly, the whole system is affected. The intricate nature of wastewater treatment drew his attention and fascination. From there on, Ryan was hooked.

Ryan’s job requires him to be constantly active because there’s always something to monitor, a role to fill, a problem to solve, and a question to answer. It keeps him constantly on his feet and thinking. “I enjoy solving the challenges, and once you get used to them, the things that were once difficult really aren’t anymore.”

Fortunately for Ryan and his team, they run an advanced plant that has recently had a major overhaul. What was once a conventional wastewater treatment plant is now an expanded and advanced water reclamation facility serving the City of Norman, Oklahoma. The plant’s overhaul was one of the largest capital improvement projects in the history of Norman.

But what does all this mean for their operations? Well, thankfully, a large portion of the processes are automated and can be controlled and monitored with the facility’s detailed supervisory control and data acquisition platform, also known as SCADA. This allows Ryan and his team to easily keep the plant running at peak efficiency.

However, given the stormy nature of Oklahoma, power outages can be a consistent problem, especially when much of your system is automated. During Oklahoma’s storm seasons, Ryan’s team stays at the ready to either move the system to standby power or to keep the system functioning through power glitches that cause hiccups to the automated controls.

Additionally, for such a large facility (17 million gallons of treated wastewater a day), Ryan’s team consists of only 19 people total. This includes operators and maintenance staff. With a small team, communication is incredibly important to knowing how the plant is running between shifts. During the pandemic, team interaction was limited with staggered shifts and the lack of in-person team meetings. Like many utilities, Ryan’s team turned to web-based platforms to maintain team meetings.

Pandemic or not, Ryan and his diligent team are always working to make sure the people of Norman get the quality service they deserve. Every hour of every day, members of his crew are at the plant keeping the water moving.

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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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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George Murphy

Jack H. Wilson Water Treatment Plant

George Murphy knows that keeping Central Arkansas supplied with safe, clean water is a lot like solving puzzles. And he does just that by using his unique critical thinking to keep a complex system running.

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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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