They say water is life, and for the past 20 years it has certainly been a big part of Chris Patterson’s life. The citizens of Jacksonville can rest assured that Patterson knows his water. He has recently been named Water Operator of the Year by the Alabama Rural Water Association. As manager of the water and wastewater plant, Patterson’s main responsibility is keeping the drinking water safe for everyone. It is a responsibility he takes very seriously.
Patterson was hired as a temporary summer laborer for the City of Jacksonville 20 years ago. He worked his way up and eventually his diligence and hard work paid off when he was named the city’s water operator, and then the water/wastewater plant manager in 2005. A lot of his work has to do with quality assurance in the drinking water. He has to make sure tests are at the levels they need to be in order for the water to be safe to drink. He’s also responsible for the wastewater that goes to Little Tallahatchee Creek. It has to be clean and satisfy the balanced levels needed for the environment. One of Patterson’s daily tasks is making sure pumps are operating properly to maintain appropriate water pressure. Patterson says he loves his job and can’t imagine doing anything else. The job is very challenging and has a technical aspect to it. “I didn’t choose this career, it chose me”, says Patterson.
Patterson is a deacon at Profile Baptist Church and, with his wife, Paula, works with the youth there.
Spending time with his family is Patterson’s favorite thing to do. He also likes to run and cook on the grill. The Pattersons enjoy sports as a family, especially volleyball and softball because of their daughters’ participation. Leah is 13, Sarah is 10, and Ellie is 8. They attend school at Pleasant Valley. Paula is a speech pathologist at Pleasant Valley Elementary. She has been there since 2003.
Mayor Johnny Smith is proud to have Patterson on board at the City of Jacksonville. He is also excited that he was recognized recently for his dedication to the city. “This award is given annually and is a big deal,” Smith said. “Chris does an excellent job of making sure our drinking water is safe and everything at the wastewater plant is being treated properly to keep us as well as fish and wildlife safe.”
“There is always something new going on in this business” says Patterson. “We currently have a plant project upgrade going on that should be complete in May of 2018. We constantly strive to give the citizens of Jacksonville the very best water conditions that we can.”
“I plan on retiring with the city of Jacksonville. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m protecting people and giving them a high quality of water service,” says Patterson. “I’m making sure that they have good, safe drinking water, and that eventually leads to good health overall.”