HU reorganizes sewer department; Wright named superintendent
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The operations of Hartselle's sewer department have been consolidated and placed under the leadership and supervision of Robert Wright, according to Ferrell Vest, general manager of Hartselle Utilities.
Wright, who has more than 21 years experience with HU, is responsible for all operations connected with the sewer department, from the time wastewater enters the sewer system until it has been treated and released at the treatment plant. Previously, he was foreman over construction in the sewer department.
"We've put a big burden on his shoulders," Vest said. "But he's very familiar with the sewer system and we're confident in his ability to do a good job."
"I feel comfortable in the job but I know I've got a lot to learn," Wright said. "This is a good opportunity and I'm grateful for the confidence that has been shown in me."
Unlike electric, water and gas, the sewer department was broken down into separate components: treatment plant, lift stations, line cleaning and line maintenance and construction. Three individuals shared responsibility for their operation.
Vest said he recommended the change to board members after considering the gains made in combating inflow and infiltration problems in the sewer collector system.
"We're not where we want to be yet but substantial progress has been made," Vest pointed out. "The resumption of normal flow at the treatment plant following a major rain event has been reduced from five or six days to two or three days.
"It was not that any of the components was bad. My concern was that we didn't have one set of eyes to keep watch over the entire operation and I didn't want us to backslide," he added.
"Our objective is two fold: First, we want to regain the full capacity and stretch the life of our 20-year-old treatment plant. Second, we want to improve the operational efficiency of the treatment plant," Vest pointed out.
"We're taking an aggressive approach to maintain the health of the sewer system," Vest added. "We have budgeted for the purchase of a truck-mounted camera that will enable us to pinpoint breaks in lines quickly and accurately."
Wright joined Hartselle Utilities in 1984 as an equipment operator in the sewer department. He has experience installing sewer mains and services as well as operations linked with lift stations and the former and current treatment plants. He also worked in the water and gas departments.
The sewer system consists of 81 miles of gravity mains, eight miles of force mains, 1,670 manholes, 14 pump stations and a treatment plant.