In a restructuring effort, a newly formed Maintenance Department has been separated from and made independent of its former status functioning under the responsibility of Plant operations at Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency.
This new direction was taken in order to keep pace with the current industry trend, according to Jon Bozigian, the Manager of Operations, who said “the water industry has been shifting toward a more defined role for Plant Operators, which allows them to focus mainly on water treatment.”
Until now, all light and heavy maintenance work, such as pump rebuilding has been performed by AVEK’s Treatment Plant Operators, Jon added.
At most other water supply agencies, heavy maintenance, including pump rebuilding and replacement; distribution system repairs; and plumbing, etc. is under the responsibility of an autonomous Maintenance Department, he explained.
Given the “vacuum created by the retirement cycle at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Metropolitan Water District, AVEK has lost some very good operators to those organizations,” Jon said, adding that a separate Maintenance Department enables a Plant Operator to focus almost exclusively on the water treatment process.
As a result, AVEK's Management and Board deemed it advisable to implement the new organizational structure -- a move which will eventually allow Treatment Plant Operators to focus more on their primary responsibilities.
The following new positions have been created for the Maintenance Department:
Assistant Manager of Operations for Water Banking and Maintenance, being filled by Doug Holmes, who will be responsible for general oversight of all water banking and maintenance personnel and duties.
Maintenance Supervisor, being filled by Steve Olmscheid, who will be responsible for daily oversight of maintenance personnel and duties.
Maintenance Technician II, which has not yet been filled. This is a Journeyman level position and the staffer receives direction from the Maintenance Supervisor, but generally works unsupervised.
Maintenance Technician I has been filled internally. This is an entry level position and the staffer will work under the supervision of the Maintenance Technician II and the Maintenance Supervisor.
Well and Pump Technician, which has not yet been filled. This position requires Journeyman experience in testing, maintenance and repair of the Agency’s 40-plus vertical turbine wells and the staffer receives direction from the Maintenance Supervisor.
In addition to the new positions, the Maintenance Department will have two Journeyman Electricians and one Journeyman Welder.
Regarding the Operations Department, Joe Goulet, the existing Assistant Manager of Operations, will oversee Treatment Plant personnel. He will focus his attention on water production and water quality.
As Manager of Operations, Jon Bozigian will oversee the entire Operations Department – that is, personnel, water production, water quality, water banking, maintenance and state reporting requirements.
Creation of the new Maintenance Department is still in its infancy and will take several years to fully develop and staff. Until then, Plant Operators will still be responsible for routine and heavy maintenance and repair of their facilities.
Once the Maintenance Department is fully staffed, trained and able to take over the assigned duties, the role of Plant Operators will focus largely on operating the Treatment Plants. They will still be tasked to perform preventative and light maintenance at their facilities.