Have you ever wondered about your water and the process it goes through to get to you?
Kingsport’s water treatment plant currently maintains 22 water storage tanks and treats around 15 to 16 million gallons daily. Keeping and treating all of that water is only possible due to the hard work of these Water Services Heroes: Wayne Case, Tim Gibson, Keith McGaha and Jody Winegar. Let’s take you through the process that your water goes through and see just how important our heroes are.
Water Plant Operators – Wayne Case & Tim Gibson
Wayne started with the city 29 years ago and Tim started 23 years ago. Both Wayne and Tim are certified plant operators with grade IV licensing. By obtaining the grade IV certification, each of these operators are qualified to run the water plant. “It’s important to know what you are doing,” said Wayne. “To be qualified and certified is important for this position.”
Water treatment plant operators manage all aspects of daily operations to meet customer demand: pumping, treatment and water quality. They must accurately perform bacteriological tests, keep records and prepare clear and concise reports of water operations as required by state and federal regulations.
Wayne and Tim both are very knowledgeable of the daily operations and understand the importance of providing quality drinking water to the public. “You have to care,” said Tim. “You care about the product and service you are providing. I care about my grandkids and the water they drink, now and in the future.”
First, our water is surface water, which comes from the South Fork Holston River. From the river your water flows through a tunnel under John B. Dennis Highway. This tunnel transports raw river water to the pump station located near the water treatment plant. The pumps move your water to the plant for the treating process.
Water Distribution – Jody Winegar
When you think of how water travels to your home or business, waterlines are involved. Whether a new water connection is installed or an existing line is repaired, Jody Winegar may have had a hand in this work.
Jody started with the city 27 years ago. As a water maintenance foreman, he knows the daily operations of the distribution system. “I take pride in providing quality service to our customers,” said Jody. “Public health is very important.”
Jody oversees four maintenance crews, and coordinates work to be performed. This may be scheduling new water connections, repairing existing lines, water valve prep work for paving projects or dress up work after tasks are completed.
Whether Jody is working with the crews or in the office, he is communicating the following – “Treat people like you want to be treated and earn their trust.”
Your treated or finished water is pumped into the distribution system for public use. Waterlines take the water to water tanks or towers where your water is stored until it reaches your tap.
Technical Services – Keith McGaha
Keith McGaha started with the city 6 years ago. As a technical service worker, he knows the importance of a water meter working properly and the accuracy involved. A typical day for Keith may be installing water meters, reading the meters, marking for potential leaks, and handling low pressure checks.
“I want to do the best I can,” said Keith. “I want to know the meters are reading accurately for both the customer and the city. This also helps with generating revenue, and water loss.”
Remember people like Keith, who are dedicated to the installation and maintenance of your water meter; that it’s reading and measuring accurately.
Your treated water flows through the lines and water meter for usage.
Our Water Service Heroes
Water is a precious resource needed by all living things. Kingsport is lucky to have such great Water Service workers and a great water source right here in our city. It’s our job to make sure it stays clean for years to come. One way our city is ensuring this is through the Raw Water Intake Project.
The purpose of the Raw Water Intake Project was to ensure a safe, reliable and continuous supply of drinking water to meet the needs of our current customers and for generations to come. It included construction of a new raw water tunnel and a new raw water pump station at the water treatment plant, eliminating the use of existing pumps and transmission lines.
Through the completion of this project and the continued efforts of our Water Service workers, safe drinking water is a resource available for all of our citizens. The next time you reach for a glass of water, think of our Water Service Heroes and their commitment to providing this important resource to you.
After all of this, your water has made its way to your home, school, or business, and is at your fingertips. Enjoy a glass of water. Kingsport’s water. Your water.