Unless you have a family member with a job in infrastructure or read my inaugural blog commemorating “Brown Friday,” it’s unlikely that the blessings being counted around your Thanksgiving table include the local wastewater disposal plant workers. But, for everyone, these workers – as well as those dedicating their careers to the health and wellbeing of our water infrastructure – should absolutely be at the top of the list when it comes to giving thanks.
For many, “Brown Friday” is something to have a little fun with. It’s a term coined and brought to prominence by workers at wastewater treatment plants who will tell you that hands-down the Friday after Thanksgiving is their busiest day of the year. Plumbers also tell us it is their busiest day for household plumbing emergencies. The contributing factors are many, ranging from the grease and scraps of holiday foods getting washed down the sink and clogging pipes, to the elevation of the “flush total” per household.
But for those of us in the water industry and supportive of water conservation initiatives, “Brown Friday” is no laughing matter. Instead, it presents a powerful opportunity to bring attention to the value of water industry workers, who are far too often taken for granted.
Being taken for granted is more than a personal affront. It can mean out of sight, out of mind, out of funds… and out of luck, especially for communities with aging infrastructure. There’s are two main reasons why, during this past presidential election, both candidates have proposed plans for infrastructure investments totaling anywhere from $500 billion to $1 trillion. They are:
1. Infrastructure repair and replacement is that important to the operation and growth of our country.
2. It will cost that much to do the work that is needed.
In an ideal world, someone would write that mega-check, and all new infrastructure as well as the ultimate in water treatment, reuse and conservation technology would be at work in less a few months’ time. We can, and are, working toward a better world in terms of water delivery and conservation. But during this work in progress, someone has to keep that water flowing given the current capabilities.
That “someone” is made up of the water industry workers who maintain the infrastructure, repair your pipes, keep the treatment plants operating at capacity, and engineer technology for better conservation.
They are the workers who, while you sleep in and recover from your holiday parties and Thanksgiving feasts on “Brown Friday,” rise at dawn and work until nightfall to tackle the overload and ensure clean, safe water keeps on flowing to every household, business and facility. They are the workers for whom we can all lift a glass (of great tasting water!) and give thanks at this year’s holiday celebrations.