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Hometown Helpers: Foreman keeps water fresh and running for the community

Hometown Helpers

AMMON — Every week, EastIdahoNews.com is introducing you to Hometown Helpers in our community. We want to spotlight firefighters, police officers, city workers, snowplow drivers and others who quietly keep our cities and counties running.

This week, we are featuring Nathan Riblett, a water foreman with the city of Ammon. He has worked for the city for 11 years and enjoys it.

“We have six active wells in the city of Ammon that provide the water for culinary and currently irrigation. We’ve got about 15,600 residents that we supply water to so my job is to make sure that all those pump sites are running correctly (and) that our water system stays in compliance,” said Riblett. “I love the challenge that comes with it. I’ve done this and worked around water all my life.”

He makes sure when you turn on your faucet in the morning and get that drink of water, brush your teeth or take a shower, the water is there for you.

“A lot of people think that when you turn on your faucet, automatically, water is going to come out, that it just flows through the pipes,” he said.

There’s a lot that goes into making sure water is flowing correctly.

“All of the motors, the pumps, the electronics—they all have to be functioning and maintained. So we have routine maintenance that we do every year, every day to make sure that happens,” Riblett explained.

There’s a site at Founders Point overlooking the city of Ammon. It’s a pump station for the immediate area. There’s a two million gallon tank there and it is responsible for maintaining the pressure throughout the entire city.

“The quality of water that we get, we have to make sure is maintained also. So sometimes people will see us flowing fire hydrants and they think we might just be messing around,” Riblett said. “What we are doing is trying to make sure that the water in those pipes is fresh and that those fire hydrants do work so when the fire department gets there if there was an emergency, that those fire hydrants are functioning for them.”

Riblett said he sometimes can have an easy day, but suddenly it can all change.

“Two o’clock in the morning you get an alarm. You never know what’s going to happen. You could have a power outage, you could have a main break, you could have a resident call in and say that they have no water or low pressure,” Riblett said. “And then being able to use what you learn to troubleshoot those situations and being able to communicate with the residents and have them understand, or learn something from you, it’s fun.”

Riblett typically works with a group of five people in the water department and is grateful for their hard work.

“One of the best things that I have working with the city of Ammon is we got a great crew. We got a good crew that we can rely on,” he said.

Riblett shows every day that he’s a Hometown Helper by keeping the water fresh and running for the community.

If you know a Hometown Helper that we should feature, please email andrea.olson@eastidahonews.com.

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