By Jeff Gallatin
Besides ushering in spring, this week also sees the start of a new seven-person Bay Village Service Department crew designated specifically for dealing with sewer issues in the city.
Service Director Scott Thomas said the new team was formed because of the importance of dealing with sewer-related issues in Bay Village.
“We have employees who have worked on sewers and related issues in the past,” he said. “But they’ve never been specifically designated to deal with sewer-related issues before. They’ve had to be taken off other work or were moved around to different tasks more often.”
Because for the last several years, the city has continued to deal with problems in the sewers as well as increased mandates for system upgrades from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Thomas said forming a team that deals with sewer issues as its first priority seemed like a logical move.
“Like most cities in our area, they’re a big issue for residents and city government,” he said. “Now, they’ll be out there on a regular basis dealing with the sewers. Previously, we were dealing (with) hot spots or reacting to problems. This approach to the issue will allow us to be more proactive in approaching sewer issues. If there is a problem, they’ll be the ones responding. But, when there is not an immediate major issue, they’ll be able to work on some preventative measures which will either slow or stop potential issues in the system. That should help us in the long run.”
Thomas said having a specifically dedicated crew will also help in other ways.
“They’ll build up more institutional knowledge about the system, which should help us deal with problems in a more efficient and timely manner,” he said.
He said longtime city employee Rick Kuznik will be the crew foreman, while Curtis Krakowski will help set plans for dealing with issues for the crew.
“They both have good knowledge of the area as well as the ability to work with others and the public,” Thomas said. “The entire team blends well together.”
Thomas said the team will be able to react to different situations as the need arises.
“They all can stay together to work on one problem, or if the need arises, they can go as two or three separate teams to deal with more than one issue at a time,” Thomas said. “They also will help in other areas of the city if the need arises, but their first priority will be dealing with sewer-related issues.”
City officials approved the new organizational structure earlier this month. Thomas said because all the workers were already municipal employees, the move will not require any major additional funding.
Mayor Debbie Sutherland said she’s pleased to have the new crew put together and ready to work.
“Our service department has been unsung heroes the last few years in terms of dealing with infrastructure and weather-related issues,” she said. “This will be a good addition to the department, and forming the team shows again Scott Thomas’ ability to come up with ways to find good solutions to issues.”