Rock Beats

Water quality focus of City training efforts

David Buzzell and Keith Kaderka
David Buzzell and Keith Kaderka are two of the trainers for the City’s water quality training. Not shown: Paul Hernandez, Tracy Herring, Kim Lutz, Doug Nelson, Marshall Reynolds, and David Walther.

For the past three years, the Utility and Environmental Services Department’s Stormwater Division has been working to train City employees on protecting our water quality. Eight employees from various departments have gone through training and then shared their knowledge with about 250 employees across the City so far. The training of City employees is necessary for the City to maintain its Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4) permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Leading by example
“The City of Round Rock passed an ordinance regarding illicit discharge into our stormwater system in March 2011,” says Tiffany White, stormwater technician. “Basically, if it’s not clean water, it’s not supposed to go into the storm drain system. We developed this training to ensure that as a City we are doing what we expect our citizens to do.”

The training focuses on best practices for protecting water quality. It also involves spill prevention and illicit discharge detection and reporting procedures. Fire, Parks and Recreation, Environmental Services, Signs and Signals, Street and Drainage Maintenance, and Water and Wastewater Line Maintenance crews have all completed training.

“The goal of the training is to protect and improve our water quality,” says Tiffany. “It raises awareness about commonplace products that can be harmful to our creeks, like soap or fertilizer. We want to make sure that City workers are careful when using such products and also choose environmentally friendly alternatives when possible.”

Tailored to fit
The in-house training has been very efficient. The City has not needed to bring in outside trainers so far despite the large number of employees it has to train. In addition, the trainers are able to tailor the message for their specific workgroup.

“It’s nice to have the message come from someone in your own department,” says Tiffany. “We feel it makes a better connection. The department trainers have really been instrumental in making this program a success.”

The City should meet its requirements for permit compliance and have everyone trained by August.

Department trainers include: David Buzzell, PARD; Paul Hernandez, Water/Wastewater Line Maintenance; Tracy Herring, Utilities and Environmental Services; Keith Kaderka, Street and Drainage Maintenance; Kim Lutz, Utilities and Environmental Services; Doug Nelson, Fire; Marshall Reynolds, Vehicle Shop; and David Walther, Signs and Signals.