The Critical Link Between Innovation and Safety in the Wastewater Industry

November 1, 2023
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Innovation and safety in the wastewater industry involve both physical safety and psychological safety. 12-part series: Safety in Wastewater.

This article is the first in a twelve-part series on safety in the wastewater industry. Every month, Wastewater Visibility News will dive deep into one of the twelve values identified by US Submergent Technologies in its company Mission and Values Commitment Statement. (Read the complete company values list here:

The commitment to on-the-job safety can never be overemphasized or overvalued. Safe project execution reduces or eliminates anxiety for the client, the service provider, and the employee team involved. When projects run predictably, they are brought in on time and on budget. And creativity, productivity, and resources can be focused where they should be, which is on upcoming tasks and objectives.

As US Submergent Technologies (USST) explains on its website:

“Only when you, our valued client, see us as the premier service provider for restoring the capacity of wet infrastructure based on our service, standards, and commitment have we accomplished our job.”

Taking its client commitment one step further, USST’s leadership pledges to managers responsible for the maintenance of critical wet infrastructure, who face safety, compliance, and operational challenges, that the US Submergent Technologies team will be “efficient, exceeding expectations, innovative, dependable and knowledgeable.”

USST Hard Hats Campaign Page 01

Part 1 of the USST Safety Series:  The Critical (and Sometimes Surprising) Link Between Innovation and Safety in the Wastewater Industry

The team at US Submergent states, “We are innovative. When we solve problems using our capabilities, we are safer, faster, and more cost-effective than anyone else.”

The connection between innovation and physical safety is easy to recognize. Modern, well-maintained equipment enhances project safety. Technology that performs predictably makes operations smoother and helps teams focus on their repeatable routines while expanding their bandwidth to be hyper-alert for the unexpected and troubleshoot problems before they happen.

The US Submergent Technologies Combination3® technology and unique GritGone Process® is one of, if not the, safest and fastest methods of debris removal. The company specializes in accessing hard-to-reach wastewater infrastructure and large-diameter pipes, and innovation in technology underpins its processes.

Among the wet environments cleaned by USST are aeration basins, anoxic tanks, baffle boxes, box culverts, clarifiers, chlorine contact chambers, digesters, effluent channels, equalization basins, grit chambers, headworks, influent channels, lagoons, large-diameter pipes, lift stations, methane tanks, nearshore dredging, outfalls, oxidation ditches, ponds, sand filters, siphons, sludge tanks, splitter boxes, storage tanks, stormwater pipes, surge chambers, trickling filters, and wet wells.

However, innovation in technology and process does more than keep teams safe and deliver projects on schedule and without change orders. In a cyclic process, innovations in technology yield safe workspaces, project success, and confident, accomplished team members who are comfortable thinking creatively, and solving new challenges, as a result, inspiring new technologies. As Jim Ludema and Amber Johnson, contributors to Forbes magazine, explain, “Psychological safety is the shared belief that a team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. Without this sense of safety, organizations lose important mindshare because team members don’t raise their hands with new ideas, or with emerging concerns and threats to the project or company. In other words – it is really hard to have a high-performing team if you don’t have psychological safety.”

The Cycle of Safety in the Wastewater Industry where innovation yields innovation

As stated in this 2021 McKinsey & Company report, “When employees feel comfortable asking for help, sharing suggestions informally, or challenging the status quo without fear of negative social consequences, organizations are more likely to innovate quickly, unlock the benefits of diversity, and adapt well to change.”

US Submergent Technologies and its sister company, SediVision®, understand that innovation and safety in the wastewater industry must stand hand-in-hand on every job site. That’s why their values statement includes this worth-repeating commitment, “We are innovative. When we solve problems using our capabilities, we are safer, faster, and more cost-effective than anyone else.”

Read more about US Submergent Technologies commitment to safety in the wastewater industry:

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