SHREVE -- The village of Shreve is going paperless, digitally mapping its water, storm and sewer lines with equipment donated by the Operator Training Committee of Ohio Inc.
Physical maps only exist for the water and sewer lines. Steven Wolfe, Wayne County Environmental Service Director, reached out to OTCO executive director Curtis Truss Jr. and requested for assistance with equipment and training Shreve's two street department employees to conduct the mapping.
"This is going to put it all in digital for us so we can access it on a smartphone or tablet. It's going to update our system and get with the times," street supervisor Dakota Kiner said.
Kiner and street employee Chad Wilcox received a brief training course from OTCO technician Cecil McDonald to learn how to use Trimble's GeoExplorer 2008, a GPS device to help locate hydrants, curb boxes, street valves, manholes, catch basins and more within village limits.
Short of stepping into people's yards, the process is noninvasive, and the street employees will only slow down traffic briefly as they step in and out of the street as they search for the fixtures.
"Previously, we could be poking around a yard for an hour trying to find these things, but this machine will help speed up that process," Wilcox said.
The software from the handheld device will help to pinpoint these items with more accuracy, within a foot or less of the fixture. Once the data is collected, the village will send the information back to OTCO, which will develop the maps for digital distribution.
"We do locating for the Ohio Utility Protection Service for any digging that takes place either by us or anyone else. We have to locate utilities and there's a degree of liability for our accuracy so this makes that much more accurate and safer for everybody," Wilcox said.
Locating these facilities will also make it easier for the village to conduct tests for potential lead water contamination and stay in compliance with recent state laws passed to address copper and lead water contamination in the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Mich.
Truss valued the equipment and training received by the village to be between $60,000 and $90,000. Both services were donated for free and taxpayers didn't pay for anything.
"As long as they're willing to put in the sweat equity, then we're willing to help them out," the executive director said.
OTCO is a nonprofit organization recognized by the U.S. EPA as the Environment Training Center for the State of Ohio. Its philosophy is to make broad comprehensive training available in order to produce well-informed, technically qualified water and wastewater personnel who are firmly grounded in the fundamentals. The organization receives no federal or state funds but earns all its money from the training programs it provides, according to Truss.
Reporter Emily Morgan can be reached at 330-287-1632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.