An Indiana water plant supervisor receives $20K salary increase


After submitting a letter of resignation, a valued water utility leader in Indiana received monetary recognition — a whopping $20,000 — for his years of hard work and dedication to the Anderson Water Utility. 

According to an article on TheHeraldBulletin.com, Tom Brewer, superintendent of the water utility, which delivers 10 mgd of drinking water to 21,500 customers, received a 28 percent salary increase from $72,970 in 2013 to $93,700 in 2014. According to job search engine Indeed.com, the average salary for a water treatment plant superintendent in Indiana is $81,000, a number that would certainly increase with state certifications.   

In the article, Director of Human Resources Wayne Huffman said if Brewer had resigned, the city would have faced a major problem with a lack of supervisory control at the water plant. “Our concern was losing Tom Brewer,” he said. “There were not enough people with the certification by the state. We have been working aggressively toward increasing the number of people with the state certification.” 

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Keeping Brewer means the utility retains his experience and knowledge of the Anderson water system, and they do not have to go through the process, and expense, of hiring and training a new superintendent. “He knows the system, how the system works and the way the city works,” Huffman said, noting that it would have taken up to eight months to train a replacement. 

The raise comes as Anderson residents face a 47 percent increase in water rates. To help curtail the public backlash associated with rate jumps, the city has implemented a public education campaign to teach customers about the need for water infrastructure repairs and replacement and how that translates to water rate increases, and the damaging effects of water loss due to leaks. 

Certainly, Brewer deserved the raise for his years of hard work. Since he was the only state-certified employee at the plant, he had to be on site or on 24-hour standby seven days a week. Perhaps a nationwide effort to increase the number of operators with state certification would boost morale and ultimately increase the average salary for all workers. 

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Of course, money isn’t everything. Enjoying your job and coming in each day with a happy, positive attitude are equally — if not more — important. If your utility cannot afford huge salary increases, how do you suggest they recognize your hard work and dedication to maintaining the city’s sewers and water distribution system? 

How would your utility move forward if an esteemed manager or superintendent resigned? Does your utility promote state certification? How do supervisors recognize your hard work? Post a comment below or email brianaj@colepublishing.com.

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