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Doing More with Less: A Strategy for Creating a Good Quality Maintenance Workforce

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Abstract:

In this era of “doing more with less,” the function of treatment plant “maintenance” is often overlooked in discussions that involve succession planning. All too often, discussion is focused on plant superintendents and managers and little is said about those that keep the plant in good working order.

The number of treatment plants that feature mechanical and electrical systems, which are growing in complexity, and need personnel with specialized training to maintain them is increasing every year. Without proper maintenance, new equipment will not live up to its potential and will have to be retired before its time. Ultimately, the lack of scheduled or preventive maintenance costs money, which is passed onto rate payers. The City of Marietta Ohio—a small city in the Appalachian Region in southeastern Ohio, met this challenge by creating a new classification called a Wastewater Service Technician. This position requires training and successful completion of the Collection I Operator I test administered by the State of Ohio. This position replaces the former “tapper” position, which was an entry-level laborer whose purpose was to install new sewer taps and other entry-level tasks. The City of Marietta reports that making this change has been positive and will create opportunities for trained and motivated individuals to move into leadership positions in the future.
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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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