Water and Wastewater Treatment Workers Week

Photo by Shari Harris

City of Licking Superintendent of Maintenance 

Larry Ogden.

Photo by Christy Porter

Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager 

Rodney Sullins.

By Shari Harris

Publisher

 

Gov. Mike Parson has proclaimed August 16 through 22 as Water and Wastewater Treatment Workers Week. Gov. Parson thanked the workers, pointing out the importance of a clean and abundant supply of safe drinking water for the health and welfare of Missourians.

Licking has an experienced team handling their water and wastewater systems. Larry Ogden, Superintendent of Maintenance, is in charge of maintaining the city’s water. Ogden has been with the city for 30 years and has a C License and a DS3 License. He flushes lines, repairs leaks, and sends water samples to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) three times per month for testing. The city water has passed cleanliness standards consistently and has not had to be chlorinated to do so.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant, built in 2000, is under the direction of Rodney Sullins. After a year of experience on the job, he earned his D License and worked under the supervision of Alan Quick. Six years of experience were required before Sullins could try for his B license. Every three years, he has to complete 30 hours of training to renew his license.

Sullins explains that the job has evolved. There is a significant amount of lab time, as well as much cleaning and maintenance.

Lab work involves keeping the pH and temperature at the plant at an optimal level for the enzymes to do their best work at reducing the solid waste. If these levels aren’t maintained, the enzymes will die. The enzymes “clean” the sewage, allowing it to be released into a sinking creek. Sullins reports that the creek water flowing into the plant is dirtier than what flows back into the creek due to their cleaning processes.

The enzymes and water can damage the concrete and stainless steel, so it is very important to keep equipment and the plant clean. The DNR estimates the life span of a treatment plant at 12-years, and the Licking plant is now 20-years old. Cleaning and maintenance are key to this longevity.

Donny Trout has a D License for wastewater and a DS2 for water treatment, so is able to help out in either area. Newcomers Zach Richards and Ty Huff will be going for training soon.

When the improvements to the city’s water infrastructure are complete, the systems should run even smoother. In the meantime, the Licking water and wastewater treatment workers earn a special thank you for keeping the city’s systems going.

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