News Briefs: Survey Reveals Low Morale Among Sewer District’s Employees

In this week’s news, Cincinnati’s wastewater utility addresses staff concerns, a new water commissioner makes history, and vandals are blamed for disrupting service in a Florida subdivision
News Briefs: Survey Reveals Low Morale Among Sewer District’s Employees

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An independent assessment of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati’s engineering division concluded that employee morale “stinks,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The newspaper reports that responses to the survey ranged from “bad” to “really bad.” On a 10-point scale, the average rating for employee morale was 2.63.

The survey — known as a “climate assessment” — found 98 percent of employees surveyed believe the district did not have effective communication, and 75 percent believe the engineering division’s responsibilities were not clearly defined.

The report, which was prepared by Cincinnati-based Make It Plain Consulting, concluded “there is an immediate need to address communications issues in the department.”

Recommendations included improving the relationship between the city and county, filling vacant leadership jobs and restructuring the organizational chart.


First Woman Appointed to Lead City Water Department
In Philadelphia, Debra McCarty has become the first woman to lead the city’s water department in its 200-year-old history.

McCarty has worked as the deputy water commissioner of the Operations Division since 2004, managing three drinking water plants and three wastewater treatment plants, along with the city’s water and collection systems.

“I am honored by Mayor Kenney’s appointment and look forward to building on work that has established the Philadelphia Water Department as a national model for what modern water, wastewater and stormwater utility can be,” McCarty says in a Philly Voice article.

Source: Philly Voice

Vandals Blamed for Disrupting Water Service
An apparent act of vandalism is to blame for an incident on Jan. 18 that caused a significant drop in water pressure and prompted a 72-hour boil alert at the Plantation Reserve Estates subdivision in Bunnell, Florida.

Flagler County Administrator told the Daytona Beach News-Journal the disruption of service appeared to be related to vandalism that led to “a large loss of water.” County spokeswoman Julie Murphy said someone opened 20 water spigots in the neighborhood, which resulted in a loss of about 400,000 gallons of treated water.

According to the report, Flagler County Utilities informed homeowners of the incident through “Code Red” phone notifications the morning of the alleged incident.

The county said that the affected water tank has been refilled but explained to customers that when water levels fall below a certain threshold, it triggers a precautionary boil water order to allow officials time to test the water supply.

Local sheriff’s office spokesman Jim Troiano said the culprits could face felony charges. He estimated that damage from lost water and treatment services to be about $2,500.

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal

Manhole Cover, Sewer Main Dedicated to State Assemblywoman
The Great Neck Water Pollution Control District (GNWPCD) recently dedicated a manhole and sewer main to New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel in recognition of her environmental leadership and her support during the consolidation of the Village of Great Neck sewer system and the district's sewer system.

“The District is proud to count New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel as an ally," says GNWPCD Commissioner Deena Lesser. "The powers that be argued that the district was too small to even exist economically on its own. The district argued that Nassau County was too large to even try to do anything innovative. (Schimel) was key to helping ensure the new plant project proceeded, demonstrating to all that the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District was the perfect size for environmentally friendly and cost-effective pilot projects.”

(L-R) Hon. Ralph Kreitzman, Hon. Steve Englebright, Hon. Michelle Schimel, Hon. Jerry Landsberg, Hon. Steve Reiter and Great Neck Water Pollution Control District (GNWPCD) Superintendent Christopher Murphy stand for a photo during the GNWPCD’s recent manhole and sewer main dedication ceremony to recognize New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel. During the ceremony GNWPCD commissioners welcomed Assemblywoman Schimel to lower her manhole cover over her sewer main and presented her with a citation.


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