The WWTP is controlled by a crew of professional individuals who operate, monitor, make repairs and adjust the system on a continual basis. After all, the plant is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and every day of the year.
Derek Gordon is the Utilities Superintendent over the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Derek began his career working as a plant operator. He knows about every aspect of the operations of the plant. In an emergency, Derek could handle just about any process on the site. Needless to say when it comes to the WWTP, he's the expert. As Plant Utilities Superintendent, Derek works under the general direction of the Utilities Manager and he manages and directs the daily operation and maintenance of the WWTP to ensure it meets all State and Federal regulatory requirements. He supervises, plans and coordinates the operation, maintenance and repair of our municipal wastewater plant and related pumps, meters and other facilities. He plans and coordinates work schedules, prioritizes projects and coordinates activities with other utilities and the City's Public Works Department, which maintains, repairs and cleans the sewer lines.
Emily Peters is the senior chemist in charge of the wastewater treatment plant laboratory. She received her bachelor's degrees in biochemistry and biomedical sciences from Grand Valley State University. She later received her master's degree in analytical chemistry from the Univeristy of Notre Dame. Emily performs a variety of laboratory test to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. She maintains a variety of records and reports related to treatment processes, chemical and biological conditions, flow rates, plant operations, and industrial pretreatment programs. The ultimate goal is to make sure the treatment process adequately cleans the water that is discharged into the St. Joseph River.
Scott Powers is the Chief Plant Operator of the WWTP. Scott works under the direction of the Utilities Superintendent of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and is responsible for performing technical, design and supervisory work in the operation and maintenance of our Class A municipal WWTP. He trains and supervises operators to ensure proper operation of the plant and its related equipment. In his job he must possess a thorough knowledge of the machines, equipment, materials, safety precautions and operating practices of a modern wastewater treatment processing plant and the related facilities and equipment. He must also be knowledgeable in the chemical and physical processes involved in treating municipal wastewater. Scott is an expert in the inspection, repair and maintenance of the mechanical equipment, pump, electronic controls and instrumentation circuits including the programmable logic controls.
John Simpson is the Maintenance Mechanic. He also works under the direction of the WWTP Utilities Superintendent to perform skilled maintenance and mechanical duties, supervise the repair and maintenance of the plant, lift stations, interceptor sewer, force mains and related equipment and he trains and directs mechanics and other operators to ensure the continuous and safe operation of the plant. The Maintenance Mechanic helps the Chief Operator Mechanic and Plant Utilities Superintendent to oversee and operate the plant. He orders inventories of chemicals, lubricants, parts and materials and participates in developing specifications for plant equipment and facilities. Other WWTP Operator Mechanics include: Vince Muntz, Dave Ahlgrim, Taylor Davis, James Pearman, and Andrew Kidwell. These men are a team of professionals who run the treatment plant whether it's Easter Sunday or Christmas Day. They are there during the hottest summers and the coldest winters. When everyone else stays home because of a winter blizzard, they report for duty and move throughout the extensive grounds of the plant to do the same jobs they always perform.
Operator Mechanics control all the processes of the plant and are continually monitoring the system to ensure that it is operating correctly. These individuals make adjustments to the system based upon conditions such as the level of water, chemical content and other factors to ensure the WWTP operates at its optimum level and according to Michigan Department of Environmental regulations. Maintenance Mechanics perform routine and primary repairs, inspect the equipment and generally maintain the plant to ensure uninterrupted operation of the system. Both of these jobs are highly specialized and require extensive knowledge of aerators, screw pumps and other mechanisms.
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