Today’s Industry Person of the Week is Dustin Gloor, who works as an Operator at the Columbia Water Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant in South Carolina! Here is what he had to share!
Q. How did you get started in the field?
Dustin: I started in the wastewater industry with no previous experience in wastewater treatment. I did not even know about the treatment of wastewater until I began looking for careers to transition into after leaving the Navy. I wanted to continue working with water or steam systems as I had done in the Navy. Wastewater treatment offered this opportunity. My experience in water systems and pump maintenance and operations provided me a head-start in wastewater on the mechanical operations side of things.
Q. What do you love most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Dustin: I love the foremost goal of my job: to treat wastewater, making it reusable for other municipalities downstream, and to help sustain healthy aquatic environments. We know fresh water is essential to life and for comfortable living. We can have times of short supply. I am happy to be part of the solution by recycling water and allowing it to be reused by others.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Dustin: For anyone considering entering the wastewater industry or for those who have recently joined, keep in mind the ultimate goal and the vital nature of the work you will do. Seeing the dirty water coming into the treatment plant and comparing it to the clean water leaving the plant and entering a stream or river encourages plant operators and provides a source of pride in our work. Keep focused on those aspects of our work and the pride you feel will drive your advancement in the field.
Q. What have you learned since participating in the Operations Challenge?
Dustin: The Operations Challenge provides operators and maintenance personnel in the wastewater industry an opportunity to focus their pride and talents in a friendly competition. The challenges cover different areas of the field that not everyone gets to experience first-hand. For instance, our team has lab technicians that never have to deal with repairing or operating pumps. We also have operators that never have to respond to collection systems repairs. We learned a lot through the training process and developed new skills that we otherwise would not have just from completing our everyday work tasks.
The greatest benefit to the Ops Challenge is the relationships built by meeting and learning from other members in the water and wastewater industry. The variety of wastewater treatment plants and equipment means, as an operator, you likely will never operate all of the different systems. Having the chance to learn from other operators and the systems they work on helps you become a better and more informed operator. Plus, attending the event credits each participant with continuing education units. I encourage all workers in the wastewater field to create or join an Ops Challenge team, if given the opportunity. You will learn new skills, meet other professionals, and feel pride that this work provides to those that work in the field.
Know an Amazing Person who is making valuable contributions within your Industry? Nominate them to be “Person of the Week”! bit.ly/EPnominatePumpPerson