The Clear Take on Water and Wastewater Today

The Clear Take on Water and Wastewater Today

Safety First Saves Lives

You could say we’re obsessed with safety – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Mike Adair is “Johnny on the Spot” when it comes to safety training of new employees, and ongoing safety courses for us all. That’s why, when we hear stories like this one that came from Lee Ortloff in Winsted, we are affirmed that what we’re doing works – and we will keep it that way.

Outdated Pressure Gauge Plumbing in Winsted, MN Posed Threat

Safety first saves lives

Fast-thinking on the part of our Operator and Region Manager headed off what could have been a life-threatening disaster in Winsted, MN. With regular morning rounds, Operator Lee Ortloff noticed that the biosolids, influent composite and anaerobic selector tank samples were black. Lee noticed that the solids were coming into the lift station from the drain in the basement of the sludge storage building. Upon entering the building, Lee noticed a strong ammonia odor and immediately turned off the pump. Region Manager, Greg Stang, and Mike Adair, Director of Operational Programs were notified of the issue and all agreed that no one would be allowed in the building without proper personal protective equipment. Firemen from the town were called to the scene as were professionals with gas detectors and air ventilators. It was determined that the cause of the leak was a pressure gauge that had been plumbed to a quarter-inch pipe by a past contractor. The pipe had rotted off the tap. The leak was stopped and it was determined that at no time was there an issue with air quality. The isolated pump, and one identically plumbed, were replaced with stainless steel plugs to prevent the event from happening again.

“It was a great relief to know that our guys in the field followed safety protocol, anticipating the worst and putting the health and lives of people first,” said Adair. “Aging infrastructure was the cause of this event. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get on top of that so these things don’t happen.”