Fairborn Daily Herald
FAIRBORN — Adam Pohl didn’t wake up one day thinking he would pursue a career in the water treatment field — the biology major at Wright State University had a career path leading into medical and diagnostic technology.
However, prior to the fall semester last year, Pohl really wanted to do something else with his biology education. After a conversation with his uncle who indicated that water treatment was a high demand and stable career, Pohl decided to change his career plans. He visited the City of Fairborn website, where he viewed a video created by the Water and Sewer Division. Pohl then contacted the Water Division Utilities Superintendent Karen Hawkins and explained how he would like to get more information on careers in the field of water treatment.
With his background in biology, Hawkins felt he would be a good fit for an informal internship at the Water Reclamation facility, which processes wastewater treatment and water analysis under the guidance of Roger Rardain, Lab Analyst for the city. For three weeks, Pohl learned the general operations of the plant, various tests, digestors, total solids, volatile solids, biological oxygen demands, reporting requirements and overall general health of the plant.
“I’ve learned practical applications of my science classes,” Pohl said. “I had no idea how wastewater was treated and that with it being biological, no chemicals are added to treat the water. It is all about maintaining the bacteria already present so they can do their job.”
Working with the lab analyst and learning the physical side of the plant, Pohl found that a career in water treatment has many location options including wastewater treatment plants, independent plants, municipalities or even the EPA. He secured additional internships with the City of Xenia and the City of Dayton. Rardain encouraged Pohl to network when and wherever he could for a value added resume.
“Networking is key for college individuals,” Rardain said. “Adam is able to meet people in the industry and obtain an understanding of practical applications and job expectations by seeing it happen first hand.”
The internships Pohl takes will help with on-the-job training hours necessary to take the State of Ohio Operator License exam.
Fairborn’s Water and Sewer Division provides more than just informal internships: it allows the community an opportunity to learn about water treatment as well. Each year, an environmental science group comes from Clark State to take a tour. Tours can be scheduled from high school grades on up by contacting the Water Reclamation Center at 937-754-3075.
Story courtesy of the City of Fairborn.