On an overcast October day, City of St. Augustine Waste Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Stephen Curmode guided 14 guests on the first of two facility tours during Florida City Government Week, Oct. 21 – 27. The tours were sponsored by the Florida League of Cities to raise awareness about the importance of municipal government and its daily impact on residents.
The City’s Public Information Coordinator, Melissa Wissel, said letting residents know about the hardening of the facility was a focus because its location is vulnerable to floods, storms and hurricanes. Wissel had toured the plant in her role as a City employee and told attendees, “You will never flush your toilet the same.”
Curmode is passionate about waste water treatment, having worked for nearly 30 years at a facility in Dade County where Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc in 1992. He brings valuable experience to the local facility in best practices to harden the infrastructure. He wants people to know that if a storm causes power outages, pumping stations do not function. Residents who choose to hunker down for a storm should refrain from flushing until power is restored because without pumping stations, there is nowhere for the water to go and it backs up.