Westminster Public Works Director Earns Municipal Employee of Year Award
Westminster's Director of Public Works Jeff Glass was awarded the Maryland Municipal League 2012 Employee of the Year award.
The following nomination, written by City Administrator Marge Wolf was submitted to the Maryland Municipal League.
Throughout his 30-year tenure with the City of Westminster, Jeff Glass has proven his loyalty and commitment to excellence. From outstanding leadership in implementing policy to developing innovative cost saving measures, Glass is an outstanding example what the Roland B. Sweitzer Municipal Employee of the Year Award represents.
This award nominee has had a comprehensive career with the City of Westminster, having served in supervisory positions in all departments of Public Works. Beginning as a wastewater treatment Operator I in 1981, Jeff Glass has been promoted through supervisory positions in all units of Public Works: Assistant Superintendent, Wastewater; Superintendent, Wastewater; Utility Manager, Utilities; Assistant Director, Streets and Utilities; Deputy Director, Public Works, and his current position as Director of Public Works.
During his career at the City, Jeff has seen the treatment technology improve and the regulations become more stringent in both water and wastewater treatment systems. He has been instrumental in ensuring that the City’s water and sewer system meets or exceeds these requirements.
The drought of 2002 severely tested the City’s water supply capacity, requiring the City to truck water from a nearby quarry to the reservoir. As a result of this experience, the Maryland Department of the Environment entered into a Consent Order with the City to impose a moratorium on new building permits until the drought deficit could be eliminated. Jeff Glass implemented that Consent Order’s provisions by developing a drought management plan; building a seven mile, $5 million pipeline from Medford Quarry to the Cranberry Reservoir; constructing a permanent connection to Roop’s Mill well; drilling a new well on the Gesell property and conducting the geohydrologic tests for additional wells at Union Mills. These actions have enabled the City to complete all of the supply capacity issues contained in the Consent Order.
At the same time, Jeff oversaw the completion of an $11 million state-of-the-art membrane water treatment plant. The membrane technology is the latest technological improvement in the treatment of potable water. It enables the constant monitoring of eleven wells, a surface water intake and reservoir for both capacity and quality. This water treatment plant provides the capacity for a 25% expansion in the future.
But it is in the wastewater treatment field that Jeff and his staff demonstrate the most innovative thinking and cost saving applications. For the past three years, they have earned the top prize in the City of Westminster cost saving contest. The first year they submitted the idea of not digesting the sludge which used considerable electrical power, estimating the savings at $140,000 per year.
The second year they entered into a demand response program with Baltimore Gas and Electric Company which earned a $30,000 credit on the BGE bill for electric curtailment during times of extreme electrical usage. The wastewater treatment plant has back-up generators which permitted this savings. The third year, they borrowed technology from NASA for air bearing turbo blowers which are much more efficient than regular bearing blowers. This efficiency will save the City $100,000 per year in electricity costs.
As part of the Chesapeake Bay Clean-up effort, the City is currently in the design and engineering phase of a $25 million ENR(Enhanced Nutrient Removal) project--$16 million of which will come from the Bay Restoration Fund—with construction scheduled to begin in 2013. This will be the largest capital project ever undertaken by the City of Westminster.
Jeff’s most innovative thinking is coming to fruition as this nomination is being written. Thanks to Jeff’s efforts, a large company will now remain in the area, rather than moving out of state.
The Performance Food Group is a refrigerated food warehouse operation located right outside the City limits. They were desperate to double their capacity and they were turning business away because they lacked the additional space. They came to the City requesting a water appropriation for the expansion. Unfortunately, under the Consent Order, it was not possible to allocate potable water for this expansion. PFG indicated they would have to relocate their business out of state. However, the water needed was to be used for non-contact cooling and fire protection. Jeff suggested that they construct a pipeline from our Wastewater Treatment Plan and use treated wastewater effluent for the additional water requirements. An estimated 57,600 gallons per day will be evaporated through cooling towers as a result of the storage expansion project. In addition, they will construct a 350,000 gallon privately owned water storage tank for fire protection needs.
There is an economic benefit to this water reuse project: our maximum permissible discharge is 6.5 million gallons per day and each gallon that we divert from the stream discharge provides an economic growth potential. There is also an environmental benefit: utilizing reuse water is a perfect way to minimize the use or waste of highly treated potable water where a high degree of treatment is not warranted, like the irrigation of cropland, golf courses and other non-human consumptive needs. In addition to the environmental and economic benefits there is a financial benefit to the City as the reuse will be billed at 50% of the existing sewer rate. This innovative project will save over 21 million gallons per year from discharge to the stream and the city will receive $80,000 in fees. And Performance Food Group will be able to complete their expansion keeping their company in the Westminster area and adding 70 new jobs to the economy.
It is for this long term, consistent, innovative thinking that Jeff Glass is being nominated for the 2012 Roland B. Sweitzer Municipal Employee of the Year Award.