(photos courtesy of Sarah Terry, Grade IV Operator for First Utility District)
Environmental responsibility means much more than maintaining water and wastewater systems.
Did you know that ospreys mate for life? This once endangered species, is now on TWRA’s watchable wildlife list. The ospreys return to the same nesting location every season. Ospreys build their nests near water, and on top of high structures like trees, power poles, or cell towers, making First Utility District’s wastewater treatment plant an ideal location.
NATURE VS TECHNOLOGY
In early March of 2018, First Utility District employees noticed ospreys building a significant nest on a high voltage power line pole at our wastewater treatment plant property. The ospreys nest came in to contact with the secondary conductors knocking out power to the plant. Our electric utility provider Lenoir City Utilities Board was contacted and power was restored.
To our dismay, the ospreys moved to a much more dangerous power pole in the same area. First Utility’s Operations Manager Brad Brummett and Facility Operations Foreman Marty Roberts coordinated a plan to build a nesting platform on the property. The major concern was for the well-being of the ospreys, as well as eliminating major operational issues for both FUD and LCUB. The nesting platform would give the birds a place to nest in the location they return to every season, but away from critical components. First Utility District built the platform, and with help from LCUB’s Mark Robinson and his team, the new nesting platform was installed.
To the amazement of all involved, within three hours the ospreys had relocated to the new structure and now call this location home. The structure worked so well, the team installed a second nesting platform and perch. Within a day, another set of ospreys began building a nest. That is four ospreys in total between the two nesting platforms. Everyone involved has been extremely pleased with the outcome (especially the ospreys) and had no idea that it would be so successful and work so quickly. First Utility District learned that environmental responsibility means much more than maintaining water and wastewater systems.