Water covers 70% of the surface of the Earth and makes up 65% of the human body. Water also contains many nutrients and minerals that keep our bodies and our earth going. Water is essential to life.

That is why the work that IBEW Local 969 in Rifle, Colorado is imperative to the surrounding community. They are helping to build a new water purification facility that will reliably provide clean water to many homes on the Western Slope.

This federally funded project will cost about $29 million when it is all done, replacing two older water purification facilities and provide the best tasting, cleanest water than the community has had in over 35 years. IBEW Local 969 and Sturgeon Electric are serving as the electrical contractors on this job, providing the skilled labor the general contractors knew they needed.

In the IBEW, we often get a chance to work on projects that benefit our very own community and this one was no different.

Great work, brothers and sisters!

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Transcript – Rifle Regional Water Purification Facility

Water is the most essential component of all life. It covers 70% of the earth’s surfaces and 65% of the human body. Healthy water carries nutrients and minerals that are the building blocks of cleansing and purifying our bodies. So the importance of water being as pure as it can be is a task not taken lightly…especially here in Rifle, Colorado.

Hi and welcome to another edition of hour power, I’m Erica McClaugherty. It’s been over 30 years since the city of rifle has Erica McClaugherty Hosthad an upgrade to their water and it’s time. That water will come directly from here, the Colorado River into a new purification facility and local 969 has made a big effort to make sure this dream become a reality!

Jim Miller: Utility Director, City of Rifle “Water is important because we use it every day, we use it for bathing, cooking, cleaning, and drinking and it’s essential to life. In western Colorado you need a reliable water supply. This city that has been here since 1905 is now reinvesting in their water supply and treatment system.”

The new water purification facility has been over ten years in the making and is going to change people’s lives. This new water plant in Rifle will replace two older plants that were unreliable. It will also improve the taste of the water as well by removing iron and manganese.

Jim MillerJim Miller: Utility Director, City of Rifle “This is a potable water plant so people will drink the water that this plant produces and essentially it’s pumped from the Colorado River into the distribution systems into peoples homes. It will be better water than what the people have been drinking for 35 years. This value of this project is about 29 million dollars. This is a federally funding job we are paying prevailing wages and we don’t’ have a local electrical contractor that can handle the magnitude of this job.”

So the city of Rifle and contractors Moltz and Sturgeon looked to IBEW Local 969 in nearby Grand Junction for the expertise they needed.

Nicholas Boger: Project Manager, General Contractor – Moltz Construction “Because of their background, their Nicholas Bogertraining, their safety record we will constantly be requesting them to price things up and in the same token they weren’t the lowest number we had but because of their background their training their safety record and skill set they got the job even though they weren’t the lower bid.”

James Milligan: Business Manager, IBEW Local 969 “We are a grass root local union and we have a lot of ties locally so any project that we can be involved in for the betterment of the community and the western slope we take a lot of pride in doing those projects. It’s good to have our guys on these job sites.”

Emily Fera: 1st Year Apprentice, IBEW Local 969 “Today we are actually running all of the conduit out of our chemical tank and we are running them all up and they will end up over there. They are going to be in a unit that controls everything.  We have to glue them all, tie them down and make sure they have enough spacing so that the dirt that they are pouring can fall in between and keep them stable.”

Shane MoeShane Moe: Project Manager, Sturgeon Electric “These electricians are very skilled in this trade, rigid conduit…is kind of a disappearing part and they know how to do it so well.”

Jim Miller: Utility Director, City of Rifle “We are doing everything from electrical generators, duck banks, conduit, wiring for security and process control, supplying pumps, motor starters. We are doing about two and a half million dollars of electrical work on this job.”

We met second year apprentice Thomas Coolbaugh on the job site who didn’t let being hearing impaired stop him from pursuing his dream of being a journeyman.

Thomas Coolbaugh: 2nd Year Apprentice, IBEW Local 969 “Today we are laying underground PVC so we can run our wire through it to provide power. I think me being hard of hearing the IBEW is a place where I feel accepted and it’s nice everybody coming together to support me. The fact that I am hard of hearing just makes it even more relevant that our brothers and sisters come together and we feel like one. It’s a great environment around here and I’m learning a lot.”

We also met first year apprentice Emily Fera who loves her new career.Emily Fera

Emily Fera: 1st Year Apprentice, IBEW Local 969 “I was a dental assistant before this and I got tired of being in an office all day and do something with my hands and feel accomplished. I have a lot of relatives in the construction field and they have always pushed me towards electrician so I decided to go for it. Getting to be outside and doing something that I love everyday is great.”

We went back to check up on the project and it’s coming along on time and on budget.  The city of Rifle can’t wait for it to open in 2017.

As for the IBEW and contractors…there’s no job too big or too small to have pride in what you do.

Emily Fera: 1st Year Apprentice, IBEW Local 969 “It’s really cool to see how it all comes together because when you just drive by a water treatment facility you have no idea that all of this is underground.”

Shane Moe: Project Manager, Sturgeon Electric “It feels really good, I live in the valley and I do a lot of water treatment projects and it feels good to get pure clean drinking water back into the area.”

Reporting for IBEW Hour Power, I’m Erica McClaughterty.

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Erica McClaugherty

Erica McClaugherty joined the IBEW Hour Power team in 2015 and has been traveling around the United States and Canada ever since, bringing the stories of hard working IBEW brothers and sisters to life.

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