Wastewater Plant Lays Groundwork for New Sci-Fi Novel

Wastewater Plant Lays Groundwork for New Sci-Fi Novel
Author Dodge Winston has written what is probably the only science fiction novel set in a wastewater treatment plant. “The Wastewater Plant” combines Winston’s passion for the industry with his real-life experiences at multiple advanced activated sludge plants.

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It’s no secret; the wastewater industry can be a thankless one, as many clean-water operators don’t get recognized for running and maintaining facilities with very advanced processes that involve technical knowledge and expertise. But a new book might turn the tide for the industry. 

Author Dodge Winston has written what is probably the only science fiction novel set in a wastewater treatment plant. “The Wastewater Plant” combines Winston’s passion for the industry with his real-life experiences at multiple advanced activated sludge plants. “I meshed that all together to come up with the characters,” Winston says. 

In the wastewater field for 10 years, Winston currently holds the position of plant operator at a facility in San Francisco Bay Area, Calif. “I’ve let a couple operators where I work read the book and it’s been pretty positive,” he says. “One person wasn’t happy about it, but it’s a fiction horror novel.” 

The plot follows operator-in-training Scott as he starts a new job at a wastewater treatment plant located on an island. The first twist comes as a 100-year flood begins and the day crew and night crew are stuck on the island together where marshland and swamps surround the plant. 

Scott realizes the relationships among the operators and work politics add an entire other facet to starting a new job. “He sees that maybe the plant is a little more intense than he ever expected,” Winston says. The second plot twist is a creature that is stirred up from the marsh due to the action of water from the rainstorm. 

An undercover Black Ops mission operated by the government also throws the operators for a loop. “A government agency knows about the creature through old Indian folklore,” Winston explains. “It is their idea to control the weather to create the perfect storm where this creature wakes up and that’s exactly what happens. Since the only thing out on the island is the wastewater treatment plant, the creature sets its sights on the island and the plant.” 

Operators are forced to deal with the creature, but have no idea the government is behind it all. “While they’re defending themselves and trying to protect themselves and just make it until daylight, the government is watching this all happen and they have other things in mind,” Winston says. “One thing leads to another and it’s not pretty.” 

Winston says joking around with operators about reality shows like “Deadliest Catch” and “Yukon Men” is what prompted him to write the book. “When you work the graveyard shift, a wastewater plant can be eerie and creepy,” he says. “I thought it was the perfect venue for a horror/sci-fi novel.” 

While Winston wrote the book for the general public, wastewater treatment plant operators are sure to enjoy the lighthearted side, too. “I want operators to get a fun ride out of the book. It’s something they can really identify with,” he says. 

The self-published book offers a new look at an industry that normally gets snubbed. “The book puts something out there that portrays wastewater not just in a technical way, but in a fun way. Wastewater can be something more than just wastewater. You can write horrific, action-packed books about it using snippets of the plant staff’s character traits. 

“It should be recognized as one of the great service industries out there that serves the environment and humanity. I want readers to get that it’s an important industry and that it’s worth talking about.” 

The book is available through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com as an eBook or paperback. For more information or to contact Dodge Winston, visit www.dodgewinston.com.



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