Essential and Award-Winning
When you hear the term “essential services” what is the first thing you think of? For most people, it’s food, water, shelter, medical care and law enforcement. These are all essential needs for everyone in the community. And…so is Spokane County’s Wastewater Operations (WWOPS). Manager Louis Graf is justifiably proud of how they have kept operations on track – while putting additional safety measures in place during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Wastewater Operations staff have been working full-time to keep the sewer collections system flowing day and night. Meanwhile, those working in the field have taken on split shifts to reduce their exposure to the virus and also the risk of transmitting it.
In fact, for 2020, they are ahead of schedule for line-cleaning (161 miles) and TV inspections (55 miles). The repair crews have also been working on the annual pump maintenance and manhole repairs, which includes new manhole lids and/or paving around the manholes.
All this – in sometimes record heat this summer!
The quality of their work continues to be recognized by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). Earlier this month, the Latah Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant received the DOE’s 2019 “Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance” Award – and for the second year in a row, they Latah Creek Plant achieved full compliance with the State Water Discharge (SWD) permit. Well done!!!
Bryan Peterson is the operator at Latah and his supervisor is Chris Walker. As a Wastewater Collections System Specialist 3, Bryan is responsible for the daily operations and maintenance at the plant. He monitors the plant by testing the treated and untreated wastewater on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual schedule. Quarterly samples are also taken from Latah Creek. (Recently, the Water Resources Group has started doing the quarterly groundwater, and creek sampling.) Monthly reports are then sent to the Department of Ecology. Annual reports for influent, effluent, and Biosolids are also prepared and submitted to the DOE.
Key features at the Latah Creek Plant are the methanol injection, blowers and diffusers for aeration, chopper pump for recirculation, mixer pumps (for mixing), flow meters (influent and effluent), exfiltration ponds, groundwater monitoring wells.
Without a doubt, wastewater operations and the county’s sewer system are among the critical infrastructure that may not be top of mind for most people – but play an important role in keeping our community safe and healthy!!
For more information, go to https://www.spokanecounty.org/1682/Wastewater-Sewer