The Norman Transcript

Features

August 9, 2013

Everyday heroes

NORMAN — Heroic behavior is not always related to life threatening events.

Some jobs by their very nature are dangerous — law enforcement, firefighting and the military. The inherent risks associated with those jobs may call upon the members to be heroic. However, there are countless unglamorous jobs that must be performed because, in some cases, it is critical to our well being.

For example, wastewater treatment plant workers must literally deal with one of the nastiest parts of our sanitized lives, sewage. When our son was in middle school, one of his science fair projects was to outline the entire process related to wastewater treatment. The information he amassed was not only surprising to him but to his parents as well.

There are things that end up in the sewer system which exceed the usual presents. We have all heard of folks flushing their pet alligators when the gators outgrow the “cute” stage. What possesses people to think baby alligators are cute and buy them for their children? Whether flushed alligators do in fact grow up and live in our sewers is a tale for another time or science fiction movies.

Fortunately, flushed goldfish, dead or alive, do not pose problems like our use of garbage disposals. According to the plant manager, garbage disposals were not a blessing at his end of the process because of the extra work to remove the smaller chunked up goodies.

Early in the water treatment process, large solids are captured by grates. This is where they sadly find babies. Such discoveries are upsetting and make the job difficult for the workers. Consequently, wastewater plants are not only the “dirty jobs” which must be done, but can also be traumatic.

Another unsavory jobs category has reached critical status due to laws which limit what can be done to control pests. We will not deal with the pros and cons of such laws, but rather with the men and women who assess and do their best to eradicate and/or control the creepy, crawly critters which invade our domiciles.

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