Twenty-five years with an employer these days is quite impressive. And, for Todd Sattison, it is especially noteworthy. As he begins his 25th year with the City of Auburn’s Water Pollution Control (WPC) Department, he steps into the role of WPC Superintendent. It’s a role that he’s trained for his entire career as he’s held various responsibilities at the department over the last quarter century.
Sattison initially planned to be a history teacher, but after taking an environmental class at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, he began to consider a different path. Then he took a part-time job as a WPC operator and that was the beginning of a new career path.
“My dad always told me, ‘Make sure you wake up and don’t hate going to work each day,’” he recalls. “It’s so cliché but very true. When you like what you do, it makes it easy to get up and go to work.”
And it’s what has kept Sattison at WPC all these years. He’s always been passionate about what he does and being part of a team that is dedicated to the health and well-being of the community.
“We’re sort of the ‘hidden utility,’” he says. “Most people don’t know where the water goes or how it gets clean, but they depend on it greatly. That gives all of us pride in what we do.”
Indeed, the work of WPC affects the entire community. Wastewater is water used by homes, businesses and industries, and the WPC Department treats it before it is released back to the environment. The treatment process—which takes approximately 38 hours—reduces pollutants in the water to a level that nature can handle. If wastewater is not properly cleaned, it can carry disease. Since we live, work and play near water in Auburn, it is vital that harmful bacteria is removed to make water safe.
From Plant Operator to Superintendent
Having started as a plant operator, Sattison understands the WPC operations well. After working second shift for a few years, the Garrett native moved to a maintenance tech role, repairing pumps, changing filters and performing other maintenance duties.
In 2000, Sattison helped launch WPC’s biosolids division, which today is a regional stronghold in the agricultural community. The facility treats and processes raw municipal biosolids and septage to become marketable biosolids for agricultural use.
In recent years, Sattison has served as the programs coordinator for WPC’s stormwater and industrial pre-treatment initiatives. In addition to overseeing plant operations, he’s provided mapping, public education and outreach. Last year, sewer maintenance—the division that oversees sewer systems outside the plant—fell under his purview as well.
Exposure to all of these areas has prepared him well for his new position as WPC Superintendent.
Sattison describes the WPC Department—comprised of a team of 14 people—as a well-oiled machine.
“We’re going to continue the work we’re doing,” he says. “Everyone knows their job well and we have a high level of certified operators. While we always want to improve our work, a lot of work has been done in recent years to lay a strong foundation.”
The WPC Department is a vital part of Auburn’s city services—and we’re thankful for people like Todd Sattison who are committed to delivering that service in a way that ensures the community’s safety.