What a deal! I went to the Wauseon WWTP to do the final inspection of their Olympus Technologies Inc. (OTI) 34 ft diameter floating anaerobic digester cover and left the treatment plant with the inspection completed and a full day of confined space entry training.
When I contacted Dave Pike, the superintendent of the Wauseon WWTP, to schedule the inspection he told me the digester hadn’t been put into service yet because they were going to use it as part of their confined space training. They planned to conduct a day of confined space training for their city water, wastewater, sewer, and fire department personnel at the wastewater treatment plant. The empty digester with the new cover on it was going to be used for the practical part of the training, available for anyone that wanted to practice their confined space entry procedures.
This got me thinking. What if I could go through the training with the city employees, then practice what I learned while doing the final inspection of the digester cover. Dave thought it was a good idea too, and he said there was plenty of space available for me in the classroom session.
So, after a morning of classroom training we moved out to the digester in the afternoon. After everyone in the group that wanted to go into the tank had been in and out, it was my turn. Dave looked at me and asked, “Are you ready?” After getting my harness properly fitted, the operators manning the hoist, Sonny and Vinnie, lowered me into the tank. Pretty cool.
What a great day. My take aways from this day were: (1) Safety should never be taken lightly at a wastewater treatment plant. Refresher training is a must to keep safety front and center in everyone’s mind. (2) There are many confined spaces on a wastewater treatment plant and servicing the equipment at the plant commonly means you’ll be entering them. (3) Teamwork is key.
Finally, there was one FAIL for the day. I planned to take pictures of the operators entering the digester for my blog. Unfortunately, I was so nervous about entering the tank and doing everything correctly, I forgot to take any pictures. A couple days later I told Dave I was planning to take some pictures, but forgot to, and told him why. He said I was a chicken, but sent me his pictures of the digester cover being built. That’s why the photo of the cover with this blog is of the cover being lifted into place during construction.