KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For several weeks Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has given local business owners and staff a chance to share how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their businesses and families as part of a spotlight series.
This week Jacobs put the spotlight on First Utility District. The public utility company serves the water and wastewater needs of more than 100,000 people in southwestern Knox County.
“We go about our business very quietly but we’re a pretty big operation,” manager Bruce Giles said. “We’re the largest wastewater utility district in the state and second largest water utility district, pumping out 34 million gallons of water a day and 20 million gallons a day of wastewater.”
The company started out in 1954 with 120 customers and a few miles of line. The operation now manages nearly 700 miles of piping. The company, which has won numerous awards during the past couple of years, also works closely with other utility districts.
The general manager also noted that his staff includes biologists, chemists, engineers and service techs, and all have to be computer savvy and know how to use their hands to work on pipes.
The company also won an award recently for its work during the 2019 flooding.
“We lost significant infrastructure in the flood and over a six month period of time we were able to function because of all the processes we have in place,” Giles said.
Jacobs thanked the utility workers for the job they did in helping out.
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