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Salem names new wastewater treatment plant manager

SALEM — Dean Stokes of Columbiana has been named the new Salem wastewater treatment plant manager.

The city Utilities Commission made the announcement during Thursday’s meeting, with commission Chair Bob Hodgson wishing him well.

“We’re very impressed with what you’ve done out there,” Hodgson said.

Stokes admitted he’s got big shoes to fill with the departure of former plant manager Jeff Zimmerman, who retired recently after nearly 28 years in the utilities department.

Stokes has been working for the department for 15 years, with his first five years at the wastewater treatment plant, then nine years working in the distribution and collection division before returning to the wastewater treatment plant a year ago as chief operator.

He holds a Class III wastewater operator certification but just received approval to take the coursework for the Class IV wastewater operator license. He has two years to reach the certification.

During the meeting, Stokes explained to the commission the benefit of adding continuous monitoring equipment to the new SCADA system at the plant, giving them the capability of monitoring the plant operation 24/7 both onsite or offsite. The addition of continuous monitoring can also help the plant monitor the parameters the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requires for compliance, such as pH levels, temperature, total chlorine residual, turbidity, conductivity and dissolved oxygen.

The commission agreed to the additional cost of $17,156 for the continuous monitoring equipment. Hodgson said it made sense to do that.

The SCADA system had just been installed as part of the Phase 2 wastewater treatment plant project. Assistant Utilities Superintendent Butch Donnalley said paving will be done soon, then final grading and seeding to finish the project at the plant located on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The commission also heard an update from Howells & Baird engineer Jon Vollnogle on final touches for the Snyder Road sanitary sewer line project, including the near completion of the fencing. He said everything’s working fine.

The commission also talked over some final details with Hilcorp operations manager Tom Havranek on the city’s sale of water to the company, mostly regarding the logistics and finalizing the contract, which just needs signed after a review by the law director.

The next meeting of the commission will be 4 p.m. July 15 in city hall council chambers.

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