Water Department works to keep things flowing

KINGMAN ­ In times of growing demands and tight budgets, City Public Works will try to make residents happy as ducks in water.

Water and Wastewater are two separate departments within Public Works managing water resources.

Water utilities is comprised of 22 employees including Water Superintendent George Sadich, Construction Maintenance Supervisor Bob Steele, Operations Supervisor Steve Cramer and Tom Callahan, managing customer service.

The Water Department primarily is responsible for the maintenance of water lines and meters, and inspections, such as regular monitoring of levels of organic material and chlorine residual content as required by the Arizona Department of Water Quality, a responsibility mostly managed by Cramer.

The city currently pumps from 16 wells, four of which are downtown, and two additional wells coming on line shortly in the vicinity of Rattlesnake Wash and Kingman Crossing.

Three booster stations deliver water to consumers in the water district.

The city is planning to add two more next fiscal year, Steele said.

Steele and Callahan manage separate crews. Steele directs line maintenance.

And Callahan manages customer service in addition to meter readers working for the city contracted through Southwest Energy Solutions, all for the exception of one, a city-employed meter tech cross-training in different positions for whatever is needed in the field, Sadich said.

Steele said the biggest challenge the Water Department is facing is replacing many employees retiring soon who have spent most of their careers working for the city, adding that the department continues to build its base of expertise from within, filling upper-tiered positions and training in other department functions.

Cramer recently earned new certification in Water Distribution and Wastewater Treatment.

Wastewater Superintendent Jeff Corwin manages a staff of four wastewater technicians, one wastewater operator and a pump operator.

City Wastewater is responsible for preventing sewer overflow in times of stormwater events, monitoring flow and capacity of sewer lines and managing compliance issues at the treatment plants.

The Hilltop Treatment Plant takes in the bulk of the city's wastewater, about 1.7 million gallons a day, while the downtown plant receives daily about 300,000, Corwin said. Some areas are on private septic systems including: Rancho Santa Fe, the Hualapai Foothills Estates area, and other places east of Eastern Avenue, Corwin said.

Both treatment plants are cited by ADEQ of having exceeded nitrogen levels allowed by the state, requiring millions of dollars needed for facility upgrades.

For the Hilltop Plant, the city has chosen consultant firm Brown & Caldwell to help the city reach compliance with nitrogen levels, possibly by way of a hybrid approach using new technology and the city's available treatment lagoons, Corwin said.

The current option considered for the downtown plant is transporting effluent to a facility built by Rhodes Homes for the development to treat for use at its golf courses.