Atlantic States assists Plainfield with Sustainability

Plainfield, Conn. – By chance another employee was on vacation, and Harrold Clarke had the opportunity to attend a sustainability workshop presented by the Atlantic States Rural Water Association. This training presented new ideas and provided motivation for Clarke and his utility, the Town of Plainfield.

“Plainfield is an old township in rural Connecticut,” explained Brad Steere, an ASRWWA Water Quality Specialist.

The water plant that serves the town was well-built, but it is old. Parts of the ageing utility need to be replaced or upgraded, but finding the necessary funding is always difficult.

“The biggest concern is that they operate on a shoestring budget,” Steere said. “Not a lot of people understand the lifecycle of utility equipment.”

“Pumps have a life expectancy.”

One of the benefits of attending the sustainability training was finding way to overcome these obstacles.

“He liked the training,” Steere said of Clarke. “Most of the guys in the field like to attend this training.”

Most of the systems attending the training suffer from the same problems. Many of them are already looking at sustainability and effective management, but the workshops help crystallize the concepts and provide direction.

One of Plainfield’s first steps is to get more of its citizens involved, and help educate them on the systems functions and needs.

“They really want to be more visible,” Steere explained. “They want to get the town involved and help them understand where their tax dollars go.”

The visibility program is part of a long-term effort to improve the utility and the service it provides. Plainfield is also beginning an asset management program and has started exploring the necessary upgrades for the utility.