Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join some of our Public Utilities staff in the field for a valve repair off of Lapeer Road (M-24). As soon as staff members learned about the leaking valve, they acted quickly to identify and repair the problem.
The valve was located in a deep pit on the Northwest corner of Lapeer and Harmon Roads. It was a chilly 29 degrees outside with some snow flurries and the water temperature was no warmer than 50 degrees. Despite the cold temperatures, two Department of Public Works employees climbed into the pit to make the repair, while the others secured the area and provided assistance from ground level. They were observant, safe, and efficient. Although most would consider this task as a serious undertaking, this is just one of the many day-to-day tasks that are performed by the extraordinary utilities staff at the DPW.
As this group of talented professionals do day in and day out, they batted 1,000. This time, the primary task was the valve repair. However, in addition to supporting various initiatives and projects, the Public Utilities Division is responsible for over 180 miles of water main, nearly 200 miles of sewer main, more than 2,600 water system valves, over 2,500 fire hydrants, over 2,900 manholes, four sanitary sewer lift stations, a booster station, and a water tower. They are also responsible for the City’s Cross Connection Control Program, construction related inspections for water and sewer services, metering, and utility billing.
While out in the field, I came to realize that the task at hand required our hardworking employees to demonstrate several dimensions of our organizational values: attentive service, diversity, excellence, fiscal responsibility, humility, and safety. Furthermore, they are so accustomed to providing services in this manner that these skills now come naturally. In short, the Public Utilities Division is responsible for keeping our infrastructure in tip top shape so that our residents and businesses can go about their day-to-day activities. These public servants are simply great, professional people.
Aaron Stahly, Deputy Director, Department of Public Works