Bamberg Board of Public Works

As utility companies go, the Bamberg Board of Public Works is highly regulated with employees having to meet stringent requirements for certification, training and continuing education, is the message BPW General Manager Bruce Ellis and Assistant Manager Will Martin tried to get across to Board of Public Works Commissioners at their monthly meeting.

The Bamberg BPW falls under 10-different regulatory agencies including: S.C. D.H.E.C., U.S. E.P.A., S.C. Department of Labor, O.S.H.A., U.S. Department of Transportation, F.E.R.C. and U.S. Department of Energy just to name a few.

BPW workers are required to have certification, training and continuing education in 16 different areas including: Water Treatment Operators, Water Distribution Operators, Physical/Chemical Wastewater Treatment Operators and Electrical Lineman Training, which it was noted is an eight-week program that takes about four to five years to complete. It was also noted that the training for the Lineman Program is the same as employees at S.C. E. & G and all the other utilities receive.

General Manager Bruce Ellis stated that in case of an accident the first thing that O.S.H.A. will want to know is “if your linemen are certified.” Ellis stated that the BPW is regulated down to even the color of their employees’ uniforms. He noted that the D.O.T requires that the BPW have mandatory drug testing program. “That’s why we have mandatory drug testing, we don’t have a choice,” Ellis said.

It was noted that the next thing D.O.T will require is a use of electronic communication devices (Cell phone) Policy, which will regulate how and when to use cell phones or pagers.

“The reason we are pointing all of this out is to let you know, we do have to have a lot of training to keep up with all of these federal and state certifications and regulations,” Ellis commented.

“That’s a heck of a lot to keep up with,” Board of Public Works Chairman Carl Kilgus said. Ellis said “a big thing now” is the BPW will have to do more to develop storm water procedures and waste water treatment facilities will have to have a program to include measurable run offs.

“We’re doing some in house conservation and trying to save money on energy, we’re putting forth a good effort to save energy,” Ellis said.