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A Day in the Life of Tyler Waterhouse

A Day in the Life of Tyler Waterhouse

A Day in the Life of Tyler Waterhouse

I’m Tyler Waterhouse, the Wastewater Operations Foreman at Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW). I am also a husband to my lovely wife, Lindsey, and a new father to my son, August. We live in Charleston, South Carolina, and enjoy spending time outdoors as a family.

I never would have imagined I’d have a career in wastewater treatment, but I’ve been lucky enough to find a job that I genuinely enjoy and helps give back to my community. I graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Hydrogeology and began my working life as a geologist for an environmental remediation company. After realizing that life on the road wasn’t for me, I was lucky enough to find a job at MPW. After nine years, I still wake up excited to go to the plant and do my part in protecting public health and the environment. I hold A-level licenses in Biological Wastewater Treatment, Water Treatment, and Water Distribution Systems and a D-level license in Wastewater Collections.

As a new leader in the organization, managing two wastewater treatment plants and the five operators that make them run daily was a challenge. My duties include scheduling chemical deliveries, managing daily operations, and helping prepare annual budgets. I learned early on that gaining the trust of the operators was the key to our success. Adjusting to my new responsibilities, such as guiding decision-making or approving schedules, was initially unfamiliar. However, after a year and a half, I have grown into the role, and our operations have become more seamless. This progress was acknowledged when I received the 2023 Wastewater Operator of the Year award for our member district and the state of South Carolina, affirming my positive impact. A Day in the Life of Tyler Waterhouse

We treat 9 million gallons of wastewater on average between our two plants. We’re a medium-sized utility with roughly 45,000 customer accounts. We are lucky to have a consistent waste stream of 98% domestic sewage routed through a well-maintained collection system. This allows us largely to focus on maximizing plant efficiency instead of constantly fighting changing influent or managing upsets. However, biological treatment can be fickle, and nothing is ever perfect. Some of my favorite memories are getting in “the hole” with the operators and fixing whatever pump or other piece of equipment decided it was its last day to function.

A typical day can be challenging to define since it constantly changes. Lately, my days have started and ended with administrative duties. These tasks revolve around budget preparation this time of year, and we’ve been working hard to make sure we can afford the tools and parts we need for the next fiscal year while still being good stewards of the funds we receive.

Somewhere throughout the middle of the day, I get to stretch my legs and walk around the plant. We’ve been having some troubles with rags, so monitoring plant conditions and cleaning them out whenever possible has been a recent focus. There is also the never-ending cycle of maintaining and repairing equipment. Recently, we had an influent pump repaired and put back into service. While in the influent dry pit, we also got impeller and wear ring measurements from the other two influent pumps to ensure they were within specifications.

My other responsibilities involve education and are some of the most rewarding of my career. First, I volunteer to teach math to the next generation of water professionals as they prepare for certification exams. I’ve also played a more significant role in leading public plant tours. Our tours mainly involve children from local schools who are interested in our treatment process. Knowing I get to help educate our youth about our role in protecting the environment and public health is something I’m passionate about.

A Day in the Life of Tyler WaterhouseI’m also one of four members of our Operations Challenge team, Controlled Chaos. Our team is the three-time defending WEFTEC Division 1 Champions. Operations Challenge has become a massive part of my life, and I am so thankful for it. I think there’s no better way to hone your skills as an operator and network with other talented industry professionals. I’ve been a part of the team for the past five years, and during that time, we all improved in both our roles and as competitors. After winning the Division 1 title in 2021, WEF allowed us to travel to Munich, Germany, to compete in the IFAT World Water Skills competition. There, we met, trained, and competed alongside our German counterparts. I cannot emphasize enough how amazing and impactful this trip was for all of us. Getting the opportunity to learn from wastewater operators in a foreign country is something I never thought I’d get to do! A Day in the Life of Tyler Waterhouse

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