Skip to main content

President's Message (C Factor)

Ethics are the foundation of our profession.
By Mike Darrow
Posted on 3/3/2018 2:02 PM

Today’s lack of ethics and values are being seen around the globe. I see craziness in the world and think “what’s happening here? Where did this go wrong? Why did these things go that way?” This got me thinking about our industry and how we must be reminded to return to the fundamentals, so we don’t lose our way along the path of career and self-development.

Just Like a foundation is the support to a building and long-term structural life, ethics are the foundation of all operators, coordinators, managers, engineers, and technicians’ profession.  In our profession we should be honest and impartial. We should serve with dedication for the employer, clients, and the public as we preform our work.  Many people I have encountered in our industry are leading this way in our profession of serving the public for the better good. Being a public servant is one of the main reasons I enjoy our industry and our profession. Every day countless people use our production, our services, or we remove contaminants from there waste stream. Then many utilities reclaim the waste for it to be reused again in part III irrigation water or source water for potable availability.  It’s kind of like the hydrologic cycle of water use.  And like very, very few children, I always enjoyed learning the hydraulic cycle as a youth.

The duties and tasks we perform in this service for our customers is also critical to our organization, environment, and our community! We should perform our duties in a professional manner. We should have pride in what we do, whether we are cleaning a catch basin, running lab analysis, inspecting a sewer manhole, or taking grab samples from the aeration basin. We are doing our part of accurately getting information or keeping a process operationally running and in compliance. We are the unsung heroes, the “silent sentential” (coined by past president Poteet) of keeping water moving in and out of customer’s houses and treating it for future use. Each of us play a vital role in everyone else’s daily lives. I just read about a water operator who was falsifying lab data in the Ozarks for the last few years, not reporting turbidity levels correctly. Apparently, the NTU’s were really over the regulatory limits. This does potentially more harm than any good. The consumers, the origination, and the industry all look bad because of this person’s negligent actions in their daily duty. Why not be truthful and use data as a justification to get new water treatment equipment to remove particles, and service your customers with better quality H2O?

The task and duties of operators are very important every day.  The diligence of working daily on each shift, with teamwork together will keep your facility running smoothly and in compliance, as well as providing great customer service.  My hat is off to those who do this work daily and deeply grateful to those who take pride in their occupation. Many times this goes unnoticed and behind the scenes, but this work is vital to all of our success.  Thank you for keeping our profession real and respected!  I also wanted to thank and recognize the countless system operators who worked for days on end, during and after the state wide impacted Hurricane IRMA. Utility Professionals in our state worked to limit sanitary sewer overflows by keeping lift stations and collections operational. Treated millions of gallons of influent sewage at peak rates. They pumped millions of gallons of stormwater by keeping storm systems clear flowing. They repaired mechanical & electrical instrumentation in facilities keeping them operational.   Distribution crews repaired numerous water main breaks and helped their other utility departments to do what they could. The public welfare is paramount in our profession. You showed great dedication to your profession and your community by keeping it all flowing.  What a great example for us all.

Another thing we must do is to treat all people with respect whether it’s management, coworkers, or customers. Listening to options really does matter and can make a difference. I for one try to listen to my coworkers for ideas and try to find the best way to implement them for improvements when practical. One person cannot think, plan, and execute for the entire organization. They must get input from staff, direction from the public, and regulators to set the Ture course that moves the group forward. Values that go hand in hand with ethics leads to the success of our organization and industry as a whole.  Important values I strive to follow daily are Teamwork, Integrity, Respect, Leadership, Transparency and Excellence.  These valves will serve each and every one of us in our betterment and help mold us in our career.

A water-wastewater operator, customer service representative, system operator, or a technician should strive to stay physically, mentally, and technically competent by bettering themselves in their craft or trade. Never stop learning! This is where FW&PCOA can help strengthen your foundation or maybe add a deck to your back yard! Taking a training class at short school or online is a way to build a better foundation in your discipline.

The FW&PCOA short school is being held in Fort Peirce again this March. The dates are March 12th through March 16th 2018 with classes in System operations in collection, distribution and reclaimed water, storm water operations, backflow prevention, utility customer relations, utility maintenance, wastewater operations and facility management. I encourage you to attend at least one of these training events.  Contact Shirley Reaves at (321) 383-9690 or for more information. If you cannot make this event, there is great online training at our online institute: Many courses our online and available now.

Ethics is very important to us all and the FW&PCOA has an ethics committee to encourage the right choice of action and importance of a good solid base.  It has created a Code of Ethics for members to use, which can be found on our website at: The committee chair, Mr. Scott Ruland, can be contacted at Following some or all these outlined ethics and values will make your foundational structure strong, in which you can continue to build your career.  In time, with these things you will be a much needed resource for your origination, or the role you have in your team.   Stay focused on your foundation……