Worked at Louisville Water since 2007
“My original intent was to work anywhere from five to eight years. I’ve been here 15. It’s a great place to work, it really is.”
Bob Gillon joined Louisville Water in 2007 just as the company launched its Cross-connection Control Program.
A Vietnam War-era veteran with nearly four decades of experience in the commercial plumbing industry, Gillon retired from the UA Local 502 in 2006. You may be wondering how he landed at Louisville Water so early in his retirement.
“I just got bored and I had to find a job,” Gillon chuckled.
As a part-time cross-connection specialist, Gillon’s job is to ensure that commercial properties are staying compliant by installing and maintaining their backflow prevention devices (BPD).
So, what is a backflow preventer? It’s a valve designed to prevent the water flowing from a main water supply back in the opposite direction.
“Once the water enters their building, we don’t want anything coming back. We don’t want our water system to get contaminated by something they have inside their building or their plant or their chemical tanks,” Gillon said.
A recent example that illustrates the need for BPDs is the arctic blast last December. The deep dive in temperatures caused some pipes and fire sprinkler systems to burst.
“That’s the main reason for main containment backflow devices. Stagnant water, chemicals, anything that can get back into our distribution system that would contaminate our water. That’s what we’re trying to prevent with the backflow devices.”
A BPD is required at any point of entry considered a ‘hazard’ or risk, for example, a sprinkler system, utility sinks, boilers, chillers, even carbonated drink machines.
“I stay busy (laughs). I do a lot of the high-hazard, sensitive customers. I do G.E. and Ford plants. I just did Kentucky Kingdom. Churchill Downs, I do an annual inspection. Slugger Field, I do an annual inspection there.”
But Gillon is quick to point out, “It’s not just me. We’re all a team here.”
A team he’s quite proud to be a part of all these years later.
“It’s really quite amazing as much effort and coordination that they (Louisville Water employees) put into supplying people with good water every day. Good, safe water every day. There’s a lot of involvement. A lot of effort. People are so dedicated at this company.”
When he’s not working, Gillon enjoys watching horseracing, golfing, and spending time with his family and friends.