Streamline - Summer 2017 - 32

SOPs: The First Step to
Sustainable Utilities
BY ANTHONY HESS, SUSTAINABILITY COORDINATOR, VDH-OFFICE OF DRINKING WATER

management relies heavily on seasoned staff to mentor new employees
about how to do their jobs. If there is very little turnover, this approach may work well to transfer
unwritten skills to then next generation of operators. However, there are multiple issues that arise
from this approach. What happens when two different mentors each do things differently? How
many operators have had to learn how the day shift supervisor likes things done, and then learn
that to meet the expectations of the night shift supervisor, they need to do things differently?
What if an operator has to work shifts for each supervisor - how do we know which procedure we
should be using? Do bad habits ever get passed on? Does miscommunication ever occur from not
understanding how to do things? If someone is injured and we have to call in someone unfamiliar
to the job, how long will it take them to get up to speed on what the expectations are for this job?
How can we get everyone on the same page?
IN MANY UTILITIES,

One of the
most powerful
management
and sustainability tools
available to
utilities today
are Standard
Operating
Procedures
(SOPs).

One of the most powerful management and
sustainability tools available to utilities today
are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary,
Standard Operating Procedures are "established
or prescribed methods to be followed routinely
for the performance of designated operations or
in designated situations." (Merriam-Webster)
These are the procedures we should always be
using for the routine tasks of our daily jobs.
Preferably we would have SOPs written down
somewhere in a form that is easy to understand for anyone who would be doing the job.
Sometimes they are posted on the wall, on a
card, or in a binder near the equipment being
operated. They should be accessible and management should encourage all employees to
use them. They help avoid miscommunications

32 S T R E A M L I N E * S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

about how to do the task. SOPs also help get new
employees up to speed quickly by explaining
what is expected of them. Clear expectations of
what tasks to perform and how to perform them
helps utilities retain operators by decreasing
their intention to quit. (Muse & Stamper, 2007)
Many operators wear lots of different hats, and
knowing they are expected to wear that hat and
what is expected of whoever is wearing it can
alleviate confusion, confrontations and frustration for the operator.
SOPs are one of the areas that operators can
use to "manage up." (Rousmaniere, 2015) No
matter your level in the organization, you can
encourage your supervisor and others to have
good SOPs to keep everyone on the same page.
Start with the most important tasks you do and
write down the step-by-step process you follow. You can talk with others that perform the
same tasks and collectively determine the best
method. Consider SOPs for items like:
* Backwashing a filter
* Calibrating metering pumps
* Filling chemical storage tanks or transferring
chemicals
* Cleaning sedimentation basins
* Unidirectional flushing of water lines
* Keeping storage tanks in the distribution
system full



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2017

From the President: 2017 Legislative Efforts
From the Executive Director: Give Us Another Drum Roll Please…
2017 VRWA Conference Highlights
Locating Plastic Pipe
The Value of VRWA
Portable Ladder Safety
The Chesapeake Bay
These Boots Are Made For...What?
RUS-Funded Projects: New Requirements
SOPs: The First Step to Sustainable Utilities
Throwing My Loop: The Horse Trailer with the Broken Heart (Part Two)
VRWA Member Corner
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Intro
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover1
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover2
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 3
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 4
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 5
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 6
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 7
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 8
Streamline - Summer 2017 - From the President: 2017 Legislative Efforts
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 10
Streamline - Summer 2017 - From the Executive Director: Give Us Another Drum Roll Please…
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 2017 VRWA Conference Highlights
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 13
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 14
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 15
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 16
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 17
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 18
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 19
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 20
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 21
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Locating Plastic Pipe
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 23
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 24
Streamline - Summer 2017 - The Value of VRWA
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Portable Ladder Safety
Streamline - Summer 2017 - The Chesapeake Bay
Streamline - Summer 2017 - These Boots Are Made For...What?
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 29
Streamline - Summer 2017 - RUS-Funded Projects: New Requirements
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 31
Streamline - Summer 2017 - SOPs: The First Step to Sustainable Utilities
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 33
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 34
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Throwing My Loop: The Horse Trailer with the Broken Heart (Part Two)
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 36
Streamline - Summer 2017 - VRWA Member Corner
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 38
Streamline - Summer 2017 - eLearning Benefits
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Membership Application
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Benefits for VRWA Members
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 42
Streamline - Summer 2017 - VRWA Committees
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 44
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 46
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover3
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover4
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