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Wastewater

Phone: 913-715-8500

11811 S. Sunset Drive, Suite 2500, Olathe, Kansas 66061

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Education: Staff - In the Trenches

Did you know that according to the article entitled 10 Jobs Americans Can't Live Without by Charles B. Stockdale from 24/7 Wall St., Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant jobs are second only to Registered Nurses!

Johnson County Wastewater staff are members of an exclusive club, a kind of Sewer Surfer’s Club! Each one has an important job to do so that wastewater is clean and safe for our community. There are five general areas ranging from surfers/treatment to lifeguard/engineering; each member is always concerned about clean water.

1. Surfers (Treatment) - You know what surfers do. They're always on the beach, waiting for the next wave. At Johnson County Wastewater, our "treatment" members are like surfers - they're always waiting for the next wave (flow) of wastewater to come to the plant. They ride that wave until the entire wastewater treatment process is completed. That means watching all the controls, pipes, pumps, and valves, as well as chemicals that are necessary to clean the wastewater. Making sure everything is working together to clean the water is an important job of the treatment crew members.

2. Beachcombers (Line Cleaning) - Beachcombers are always picking up things from the beach. Some of our Surf Club members do that with the sewer lines - they clean them! They can do this by using a "jet-rodder" which is like a big saw with water that goes through the sewer line and removes large items such as tree roots. Or, they can use a "jet-vac" which is like a huge vacuum cleaner. It's awesome!

What happens ...when fats, oils, and grease are poured down the drain? It sticks to the sewer pipe walls creating layers of buildup that restrict the wastewater flow. True, this is an extreme case, but see what our friends across the pond ran into!

3. Beach Patrol (TV Crew) - Now, when our staff members say they work on a TV crew, some people have another vision. But what do you think the beach patrol does? That's right! They're the ones making sure everything is safe and in order. Our crews send a video camera down into the sewer lines to make sure that they're all working right and that there are no cracks or leaks in them.

Test your knowledge by answering this question from the Water Environment Federation (the correct answer is at the bottom of this page):

* Reasons for a closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection for preventive maintenance include identification of and rating of pipe defects, system condition assessment, and what else?

  1. prioritization of future capital improvement projects, based, in part, on information gathered during CCTV inspections
  2. keeping crews busy when other equipment is broken
  3. making sure the sewer cleaning crews are getting the pipes clean

This function helps Johnson County Wastewater know which lines should be fixed so that all the wastewater arrives safely at the treatment plant. Cool, huh?

4. Surf Shop (Maintenance) - So, let's say your surfboard needs to be fixed. Bummer! So whatta ya do? You go to the surf shop. Johnson County Wastewater has a surf shop of its own called Maintenance. We actually have two groups of club members who make repairs – one group works on the lines (called line repair) and the other group works on the wastewater processing facilities. Members of both groups are very important because they make sure EVERY piece of equipment or sewer line is in good working condition.

5. Lifeguards (Engineers)  - Lifeguards are important at the beach. At Johnson County Wastewater, our engineers are like lifeguards. They keep an eye on the big picture and come up with new and better ways to treat wastewater. That could mean building more treatment plants, putting in new sewer lines, or repairing what we already have. Engineers make sure that it's all going to work. They watch over projects and help the other Johnson County Wastewater staff members do their jobs.

That wraps up the introduction of the surfing crew at Johnson County Wastewater. You can probably see why we are the largest department in the county! There is lots to do and always something new to learn. We're proud of our role; helping to preserve the quality of life for all of who work, live, and play in Johnson County!

Interesting links

These pages give you a more detailed view of some of the jobs performed by our staff members.

* The answer to the CCTV question is 1. Information from CCTV inspections is used to help prioritize sewer projects and future funding needs.