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RMW - May 2017

26 | ROCKY MOUNTAIN WATER MAY 2017 MANAGEMENT PIPELINE This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile By Blair Corning JOBS IN THE WATER AND WASTE-water business are changing. They are not going away. In fact, with baby boomers retiring in droves, job prospects are excellent. But they are evolving. Tech-nological advancements in the field are creating new job duties—and sometimes the job titles—throughout our industry. I have seen some new water jobs recent-ly that didn’t exist 20 years ago. When I started out in the water treatment business, in-line instrumentation was available, but not many plant operators trusted it enough to let it control plant processes. In-line instruments have come a long way since then. So far, in fact, that Metro Wastewater Reclamation District (MWRD) now has five In-line Instrumentation Specialists on staff. I spoke with Kevin Feeley, Chief of Analytical Services at MWRD, about the origin of these positions. Kevin said that about six years ago MWRD, recognized the need to have a group of people to manage the probes and sensors that were popping up everywhere. “A majority of the instrumentation is used for determining the effectiveness of biological nutrient removal, including nitrification/denitrification and phos-phorous. The reliability and accuracy of in-line instruments, at that time, had come to a point that they provided our operations staff a comfort level in making real-time process control decisions based on the information received from these instruments,” Feeley said. Many utilities that are adding tech-based posi-tions are finding that determining where to put them isn’t easy. This is because these types of jobs usually touch many different departments. MWRD’s in-line group is housed in the Analytical Services Division, but the group is supported by electrician instru-ment technicians from mechanical and electrical, electrical engineering, and information technology (IT), because all instruments are tied into MWRD’s con-trol systems, Feeley explained. As the water industry becomes increasingly reliant on technology, old job descriptions are changing and new ones are being developed.


RMW - May 2017
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