The Fire Chief Project: They called, he answered

Plant manager in Salt Lake City is glad to give a tutorial to a TV news team – and so to his community

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The ABC 4 Utah TV news crew has been reporting on U.S. cities looking at “toilet to tap” treatment – putting reclaimed wastewater into the drinking water system. Along the way, the team got curious about what happens to wastewater in its home of Salt Lake City (which doesn’t use effluent that way).

So they interviewed Dale Christensen, manager of the Salt Lake City Wastewater Treatment Facility. Rather than shy away, as some operators might, he gave freely of his time and knowledge. As a result, viewers know a little more about the clean-water process than they did before.

Rather than talk like a technician, he kept it simple enough for everyday viewers to understand, describing not only the basic treatment process but also how the plant uses digester methane to generate some 60 percent of the its electric power, and how biosolids are dried and used beneficially for landfill cover.

Working with the media in this way furthers the two aims of The Fire Chief Project:

  • Raise clean-water operators to the status of the fire chief.
  • Make kids grow up wanting to be clean-water operators.

Read more about this at

What have you done to work with your news media to create positive impressions for your facility and the industry? Send a note to I’ll share your experiences and advice with readers of this blog and TPO magazine.


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