Stories from the Sewer

Stories from the Sewer TREKK Design Group provides many different services such as transportation design, construction inspection, survey, asset management, and GIS.  Another large segment of our services falls within the corner that I work within: TREKK’s water and wastewater department. Over the years, a number of off the cuff stories have been shared about the sewer business. Here’s a compilation of a few memorable ones that individuals at TREKK have experienced.  Enjoy! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “Fun things happen to us all the time, man.  The stories, they come from all over the place.” -Robby Hartpence, Field Manager   Ballpark Village – Meet This Community St. Louis, Missouri is known for having a growing large sewer system.  TREKK has inspected some very large sewers in many different cities, but never one quite as inviting as in St. Louis, MO: “We did a sewer walk a few years ago downtown.  It was this real large underground tunnel, almost felt like a subway system or something.  We were taking some measurements and doing a general assessment of what all was down there, where the sewer was located, and came across a portion where the street was starting to cave-in.  Well, we also came across some kind of homeless village.  Sofas and tents all over the place, there were little huts burrowed in the walls with plywood, tarps, and all.  There were a couple hundred people – it was like a community down there.” -Ron Thomann, Project Manager   “That was a crazy experience.  Seeing all of those people come out of nowhere.  There were tents and tarps and they had a seating area...
I’m here to help

I’m here to help

I began my career 37 years ago with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in the Poplar Bluff Regional Office. I stayed in Poplar Bluff seven months before transferring to the Springfield Regional Office, which is closer to my hometown of Osceola, Missouri. I started out primarily working in Solid Waste and a small amount of Industrial Wastewater. In Springfield, I primarily worked solid waste and a small fraction of Public Drinking Water, but soon moved into Water Pollution Control where I spent the bulk of my career. As the often feared and, most of the time, misunderstood Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) inspector, I visited local facilities to document compliance through the inspection process with the Missouri Clean Water Law, Missouri Department of Natural Resources Regulations, and the facilities Missouri State Operating Permit (MSOP). I’d tell them, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help!” This line got me out of some heated issues and sometimes just brought a smile upon the face of the regulated community. While the inspection never felt like help to the facility, it was my intention to keep the facility out of trouble. If this was not done, it just created more work for everyone through potential enforcement actions. Since coming to work for TREKK, I have been able to better live out the “I’m here to help” portion of that old statement. I have assisted communities in obtaining grant funds to evaluate their collection systems, reviewed draft MSOPs for comments, and helped a client implement an Industrial Pretreatment Program. The family atmosphere at TREKK has extended not only to the...