Aldermen get close look at treatment plant work

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Monday tour of the Waste Water Treatment Plant offeredBrookhaven officials a firsthand look at an important cityoperation that often goes unnoticed.

Mayor Bob Massengill facilitated the tour for city aldermen,stating a basic need for the public in general to realize whathappens there on a daily basis.

Calvin Carter, plant foreman, was appreciative of theopportunity to have the plant in the spotlight.

“I’m glad they’ve been made aware of the importance of atreatment plant, not just for the city, but also for theenvironment,” Carter said.

Massengill stressed the importance of a facility that has to runaround the clock and of having qualified people to make sure thewheels keep turning.

“I think most people pass the lagoon and think, ‘That’s ourwater treatment plant,’ when it’s not,” said Massengill. “This isthe plant, and it’s a complicated process. I thought the boardshould see how important it is that we have quality people runningthis plant.”

One of those quality people is Carter, who has a Class 4operator’s license, which is the highest ranking an operator canachieve.

“Calvin is vital to the city, but he’s kind of in anout-of-the-way spot, so he’s not thought of that much. I thoughtit’d be good for the board to know what he does,” said Massengill.”And Willie Gayten, who is working towards his Class 2, isimportant, too. We need to have good backup.”

The Waste Water Management Plant not only has to operate 24hours a day, seven days a week, but they also have to maintain highstandards set by the Department of Environmental Quality.

“DEQ oversees it, so you’ve got to comply with every rule andregulation,” said Massengill, pointing out a need for those in citygovernment to know more about plant operations. “It was obviousfrom one quick tour that we’re no experts. I think everyone needsto see what is done here because it’s done each and every day.”

Ward 4 Alderwoman Shirley Estes agreed.

“Environmentally and individually we don’t think about howcrucial this is,” she said. “It’s invisible unless you take a driveout here – then you realize the complexity of it.”