Donnie Maurer has been with the City of Hope Wastewater Department for 33 years. This quiet, humble man has never asked for recognition and will be the first to say that this department is all about teamwork. Donnie is one of only eight employees who work in Hope’s Wastewater Department. Every day Donnie and his crew must examine each of the seven lift stations, inspect the two water treatment plants, and monitor or fix any issues with the 115 miles of waste collection lines and over 2,000 manholes. This department is also responsible for the maintenance and repair of all street signs in Hope. With almost 2 million gallons of waste circulating through the system every 24 hours, the wastewater guys must be on point at all times. Donnie and his co-workers rotate a call schedule for nights and weekends so someone is always available to maintain the safety and efficiency of this process. Through it all though, Donnie never complains.
Shy and reluctant to talk about himself, Donnie comes to life when discussing his job. He is proud to be a member of a department that is absolutely essential to the health of the community. The collection of wastewater has a crucial role in keeping disease and pollution at bay, from the time it leaves a home and hits the sewer mains to the time it leaves the treatment plant and is discharged back into nature. Through the years, he has worked at every position available in the department and is more than knowledgeable about wastewater collection and all its intricacies. He shared with SWARK.Today the science that occurs behind the scenes once wastewater is collected and hits the holding tanks. “It’s a biological process,” said Donnie. “There are bugs in these tanks that treat the wastewater. As they eat the bad particles in the water, masses are formed and it gets so thick it sinks to the bottom and settles. The sludge is pumped through the many different chambers until it is de-watered and so thick, there is no more good water to get out of it. What’s left of the thick waste is sent out to the sludge beds and once that dries up it can then be sent to a class 4 landfill. The good water that has been pumped and treated in this process, when the water is the best that it can be, then follows the channels through a UV system that will disinfect any disease-causing organisms that might be left and from there it is sent down to the creek to be discharged out.” Eventually the clean water leaving the plant will make its way to a river where at some point it will be collected, sent out to be used by the population, and then ultimately start this process again once it hits the wastewater lines. Above 80 percent of all the wastewater collected is able to be recycled and reused. That deserves another shout out: 80 percent!
Donnie says that teamwork is a big part of the success of this department. Most days, his regular crew includes Ricky Cox and Kelly Bobo, and to achieve optimal success, they work closely with the other five in the department: Conner Hamm, Kelly Stone, Jurnee Lockett, Lab Tech and Operator, Kalyn Provence, and Superintendent Scott Ross. Even though Donnie is hesitant to take credit for his hard work, the rest of the department agrees that Donnie is a vital asset to the health and safety of this community. Superintendent Scott Ross expressed the sentiment best. “Donnie is the heartbeat of this department,” said Ross. “He is not only the most valuable employee of this department, but of the whole city. His time in wastewater, and also working with other departments through the years, has made him one of the most knowledgeable employees we have.”
When he isn’t on the clock, Donnie is just as attentive and dedicated to his family. He, his wife, Becky, their five children, and two grandchildren can be found working on projects together, taking family trips, or enjoying the outdoors. Donnie’s absolute favorite activity is fishing, especially if he can take his number-one fishing buddy, his beloved Becky. Any chance they get, he and Becky head out for calm waters to see what’s biting that day. Becky describes Donnie as having an impeccable work ethic and says his biggest motivation is family. “Donnie is very hard-working and family-oriented,” says Becky. “He gives his very best on the job every day, and then comes home and does the same for us. On his days off from the department, he’s still working by helping his family.”
For SWARK.Today’s first Citizen Spotlight, Donnie Maurer is the perfect example of the type of citizen who deserves a little recognition. His role, behind the scenes, is absolutely necessary for the health and well-being of so many people, yet he never asks for anything. He does his job every day and also lends a helping hand to anyone else who needs it. His quiet dignity in manner and conscientious dedication to his field make an impression on all who have the pleasure to meet him. The residents of Hope, Arkansas are truly fortunate to have citizen Donnie Maurer working for their community.
Thanks to Donnie and the crew at the City of Hope Wastewater Department for inviting SWARK.Today to observe and learn about what you do every day and allowing us to share it with the community.
SWARK.Today’s Citizen Spotlight is for recognizing those whose dedication and expertise are an essential part of our community and industry. Often, those roles behind the scenes are equally as valuable, yet not common knowledge. To achieve success, every job is necessary and every person’s role in the community is critical. If you know of someone who should be nominated for a Citizen Spotlight, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the person’s name and a brief description of his or her contribution to Hempstead and Nevada Counties; we would love to talk with them!