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New water plant superintendent hopes to bring Morrill plant up to modern technology
by Gary Kent
Nov 13, 2013 | 58 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Lentz stands among a storage tank, a filter building and one of the two clarifiers at the George P. Morrill Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch. Lentz has been in charge of the Beeville Water Supply District’s facility since last month.
Michael Lentz stands among a storage tank, a filter building and one of the two clarifiers at the George P. Morrill Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch. Lentz has been in charge of the Beeville Water Supply District’s facility since last month.
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SWINNEY SWITCH – Michael Lentz hopes to update the equipment at the George P. Morrill Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch into the 21st century.

The Austin area native took charge of the operation on Sept. 16 after being hired by the City Council to replace Hector Salinas.

Lentz brings plenty of experience and talent to the position. He started working at a small water department near Waco in 1980. In the 33 years since, he has earned the coveted “A” water license from the state. In fact, by the time Lentz had earned that license, he had been in the water treatment business for only 10 years.

One of the greatest assets that Lentz brings to the position is an 11-year stint with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“I know how to talk to those people,” Lentz said. He is familiar with what the state regulators are looking for when they conduct an inspection, and he knows what it takes to comply with their rules.

Lentz started with the state agency in 2011 and left the position just last year.

“We’ve got a nice place here,” Lentz said. “It’s a strategic location, and it’s easy to get to.”

The superintendent has been taking a close look at everything that needs attention at the plant and assessing what needs to be done.

“Right now, everything seems to be running well,” Lentz said. But much of the equipment needs to be updated. He intends to bring that to the attention of the Beeville Water Supply District board and the City Council.

“It’s just like any other business,” Lentz said. It is important to stay up-to-date with new technology.

Lentz is in charge of eight men at the treatment plant, but he needs to hire one more person soon.

The new superintendent is a graduate of McCallum High School in Austin and earned his master of applied science degree from Grayson College in Grayson County.

He said he became aware of the open position when he saw a notice on the Texas Municipal League internet site.

Lentz called his prospective boss, City Water Superintendent Cesario Vela, and he was urged to apply.

Lentz had known Vela while working at another water district.

Currently, Lentz calls Calallen home.

The new superintendent said the slug of rain water flowing down the Nueces River and filling Lake Corpus Christi is a blessing.

Although the water in the river is dirtier than normal, Lentz said that is a good thing.

Cleaner water is harder to treat than dirtier water, Lentz said.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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