Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shenandoah week 7&8

Week 6 ended on a tragic note.

We received the sad news that Ranger Nick Hall had passed away during a Search and Rescue at Mount Rainier. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of the National Park Service staff. We all received an email from Director Jarvis ordering the flags at National Park Service facilities to be flown at half staff and authorizing mourning bands to be worn on NPS badges.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for another” John 15:13

Week 7 & 8 I worked with Maintenance 
The maintenance division here at Shenandoah National Park is extremely diverse.

I worked with (Charles) Jason Freeze who is a water operator. He is responsible for and has to make sure all of the portable and drinkable water systems remain in compliance with federal and state standards. Basically he has to make sure that every place in the park that has running water is running properly. He takes thirty to sixty samples of water each month for simple bacteriological to radiological testing.
 There are two reservoirs at HQ that each hold 50,000 gallons of water.

Adding chlorine to the water kills the bacteria and making it safe to drink.  

I worked with a waste water operator Tina Touchstone. We worked at Skyland waste water plant, which is a conventional sludge plant. The average flow at Skyland is approximately 35,000-40,000 gallons per day. She is very intelligent and says that she has to keep her “bugs happy” meaning, the microorganisms. The daily operations at this plant, which I took part in, consist of microscopic exams on Mix Liquid Settable Solids (MLSS). We also read back an E Coli test and prepared the drying beds for loading. This taught me a lot about waste water and how it works. It actually did not smell and to my surprise the water that eventually ended up going outside was as clear as your everyday drinking water. If she does not keep her “bugs happy” then the water will not come out clear and can cause many problems. Their biggest problem is when the concessions do not properly dispose their grease and it comes down into the waste water and kills all the good microorganisms. In Shenandoah National Park, there are four waste water plants and they are located at Loft Mountain, Big Meadows, Matthews Arm, and Skyland. Big Meadows and Skyland are high-flowing plants and Loft Mountain and Matthews Arm are low-flowing plants.  
The drying bed

This is showing how the wastewater plant works at Big Meadows

I worked with Christine Freeland who is the Facility Management Systems Specialist and deals with inventory and assess everything for maintenance. She writes assessments to maintain the maintenance in the park. I took a basic course, which was an overview of Facility Management Software System (FMSS), and I received a certificate.
Chris and I collected data with a Global Positioning System machine on some of the overlooks so they can be put into the Geographic Information System database.

I went with Steve Funkhouser who is the project manager. He takes projects that have to go through a contracting process. He facilitates and manages projects through those elements for delivery. Projects can be anywhere from roadwork, service, buildings, entrance stations and the list can go on.

I had to enter employees’ time data into FMSS so it could be recorded and they would be paid accordingly. Every work order has a specific number and when it is typed into the system that specific task is recognized. For example, if they had to mow the lawn at Big Meadows Campground and the work number was 113765, then next to that needed to be how many hours that they worked. I was able to input that information into their pay period so they could be paid correctly.

I worked directly in the parks asset management software system imputing labor and materials to track program activities.

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