Access to clean water is never more important than during emergency situations.
As severe weather and flooding wreaked havoc across the Midlands during the October 2015 flood, a small, dedicated team of Richland County Utilities employees worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure its 12,000 customers never lost water service. These dependable workers manage the County’s four water systems and three wastewater treatment plants seven days a week, 365 days a year, and their commitment to providing quality, uninterrupted service during emergency situations is proven – though sometimes taken for granted.
“People often turn on a faucet, never quite realizing the efforts that go in to providing that clean water,” said Richland County Utilities Director Shahid Kahn. “We’ve come to expect water and sewer systems to be a natural part of everyday life and forget that behind the scenes are very hardworking men and women making sure those services are available, and safe.”
The Utilities department’s employees specialize in various fields that function together to keep the complex water systems operational and keep water clean and healthy. The County is seeking additional engineers, maintenance technicians and site coordinators to join the ranks, and professionals with varying backgrounds, from skilled labor to engineering, are encouraged to apply to fill these important roles. Whether operating light and heavy equipment, taking and testing water samples or repairing and replacing pipes, valves and pumps, all Utilities positions require training and compliance with safety standards, and some require state-issued licensure.
Like any public service profession, a career in utilities can be challenging and emergency situations can happen at any time. But Kahn and his staff take pride in the significance of their work.
“It’s satisfying to know we perform an excellent service for our customers, as well as the environment,” said Operations Superintendent Charles Shugart. “And there are always a variety of activities that make the work we do interesting.”
The County’s water systems and wastewater treatment plants are operated in accordance with strict human and environmental health regulations. Both drinking water and treated water that’s discharged into local waterways is tested regularly to ensure it meets safety requirements.
Richland County Utilities workers receive training from state and national agencies and, as County employees, are eligible for health and life insurance, paid holidays and contributions to the state retirement system. Those interested in applying can find more information by visiting rcgov.us and clicking “Careers” at the top of the page.
Kahn looks forward to welcoming new employees to his Utilities team, which provides such a fundamental necessity to thousands of residents and businesses.
“Clean water is a basic building block of life,” Kahn said. “There’s a great responsibility and a great reward in being a part of the system that provides it.”
For more information about the Utilities department, visit its new, user-friendly website at rcgov.com/Government/Departments/Utilities.