Monday, April 19, 2010


My "Friday" is finally here.  I am off for the next two days and I am ready for it.  It has been a good week, but a tiresome one.  I was really doing just fine until today, but as this was day 8, I started feeling it.  We had our usual Monday meetings and everything was going well.  I went out to check on the Ranger Academy group next.  They were in their best uniforms and ready for graduation day.  I helped with some last minute details.  A lock was really holding us up.  It was being stubborn and my key wouldn't work.  I was also trying my best to not interrupt a group discussion that was going on nearby.  I felt terrible when I had to call a ranger away from the project he was working on to open the silly lock.  When that battle was won, I moved on to the kitchen area.  They needed more garbage bags and tweezers to remove a sliver.  I drove back to the shop area to get the bags and stopped at home for some tweezers.  I dropped off the supplies to the kitchen and began to make my rounds of the youth camp area.  I had to check on the men's side restroom because someone reported to me that there was a back-up with the drains.  The restroom looked fine, but I checked the nearby lift station pump and it was too full.  No one in the park had a key to the lock securing the fence around it, so I had to make another trip to the shop for some bolt cutters.  Meanwhile, I called out the cavalry to help round up some assistance with the well.  I went back to the smelly issue at hand and opened up the fence.  Then I checked the pump controls to see what I could do.  It was not a problem that could be easily repaired.  We had to call in one company to pump out the VERY large tank so that we could see a little more.  We happened to get very lucky because another septic service agent was in the park on another due to a completely un-related ordeal.  He was able to check over the wiring and get things working well enough again.  I don't know why this pump couldn't wait just a few more months to falter, it will be removed very soon because we are about to connect everything to city sewer.  The majority of my morning was spent dealing with sewage.  The only photos I took today were of, you guessed it... a septic tank.  This is the cleanest of them all, after the tank was pumped and pressure washed.

When we left the issue in capable hands to get the pump pumping again, it was lunch time.  I was not ready for lunch yet.  I returned to the office and sent a response to a fire marshall inspection.  With my mind clear and the smell of sewage no longer lingering in my nose, I headed home to get a bite to eat.  After lunch, I inched forward a little more on a project that I need to complete by the end of the week.  I have to enter our natural resource project needs into a database which tracks such things.  Last week, I was able to locate the program that I need to use and got logged on.  Today, I had someone show me how to enter the info, but I was not yet authorized to do so.  I had to call a help desk and then another contact to gain those permissions.  When I finally was able to get somewhere, I got called away.  The Ranger Academy participants had graduated and were ready to go home.  I had to walk through and check their cabins and restrooms to make sure that they were clean enough.  It was starting to rain and everyone was eager to hit the road.  My coworker gave me a hand and everyone cheered when we gave the thumbs up.  Park Rangers are great at cleaning!  It was fun to watch them all say their good-byes and then flee to their vehicles.  We stuck around to take care of some last minute items and then headed home.

Thought of the Day #66
Between grease traps and lift stations, I have had more than my share of smelly things to deal with this week.  As a Park Ranger and now as an Assistant Park Manager, I have felt like a plumber on so many occasions.  I'm sure that the iconic image of a Park Ranger in your head does not include a plunger, but human waste really becomes a big part of the job whether it is litter or sewage.  I remember being a little surprised in college when I had to take a waste water treatment class and I visited almost every waste water treatment plant within 45 minutes of the school on different field trips.  If you think about it though, managing natural resources includes managing our impact on them.  Waste water is treated and it returns to our water table.  We have to make sure that waste water is treated effectively and consistently or else it can be detrimental to something that is so important to life, clean water.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Good thought of the day, Amy. You connected the dots to make what seems like a nuisance (and a smelly one at that) a very relevant part of the job. We all need to keep that in mind.