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South Jordan Journal

Public Works Visits Every Fourth-Grade Class in South Jordan

Jul 06, 2016 10:27AM ● By Sandra Osborn

(left to right) Kyle Bowen, Matt Winward, John Rose, Jordan Allen, and Brandon Crookston present to Mr. Suggs fourth grade class at Welby Elementary on May 23rd. –Sandra Osborn

 By Sandra Osborn | [email protected]

Fourth-graders in Mr. Steven Suggs class at Welby Elementary School stared in disbelief as South Jordan Public Works Department (SJPWD) representative Jordan Allen told them about the time a vehicle hit a fire hydrant at the District at 2 a.m., shooting high-pressure water and rocks everywhere. It was one of the many times the Public Works crew worked while the city slept.

 Throughout the last few weeks of the school year, representatives in the divisions of Water Maintenance and Conservation, Sanitation and Storm Drain visited every fourth-grade class in South Jordan to talk about Public Works services, particularly those dealing with water.  

 “It’s one of the most fun things we do every year,” Danny Young, from Sanitation, said. “At this age, they internalize the message, and I think it will last a lifetime.”

 SJPWD representatives use the school presentations to connect with the community. Public Works is responsible for many of the services that significantly contribute to South Jordan’s quality of life but are often taken for granted such as clean water, garbage removal and road maintenance.

 In the last year, SJPWD removed 25,402 tons of garbage and waste, swept 2,889 miles of roadways, maintained 657 acres of parks and open space and helped deliver 4.6 billion gallons of water through 349 miles of pipe, according to a video called “Always There,” put out by SJPWD in celebration of 2016 National Public Works Week You can watch the video at

 The fourth-graders in Suggs’ class were excited to learn about blue and purple pipes and cool machinery such as the sheepsfoot truck and the vacuum truck. They also had lots of questions.

Q. “How many leaks do you fix per year?”

A. 60,100 per year.


Q. “How much water is transferred through a pipe?”

A. 2,000 gallons per minute in one pipe.


Q. “Why do you what you do?”

A. We do it because we love the city, and we really care for the residents and their concerns.


The students were truly engaged in the discussions on the water cycle, water conservation and how to keep our fresh water resources free from pollutants.

 “We talk about the water cycle in the fourth grade,” Suggs said. “It’s good for the kids to see who is doing the work.”

 Through humor and storytelling, the representatives from Public Works drove the point home.

 “Sprinklers use 70 percent of the water usage in a home,” Rick Maloy, from Water Conservation, said. “No matter how long you water your driveway, it won’t grow.”

 The children laughed.

 “Water is the most useful thing in the universe.” Benny Huntley, a student in Mr. Suggs’ class, said.

 During the Storm Drain presentation, SJPWD representatives introduced Fred the Fish and told of its adventure downstream. The children followed Fred the Fish’s adventure in horror. Swimming along the storm drain, Fred the Fish encountered wood, metal and soil at a construction site; fertilizer and soap in the suburbs; oil under a bridge; litter and pet waste in a park; and hazardous household waste such as cleaning chemicals and medications at a confluence in the river. As the story progressed, volunteer kids struggled to put the contaminants into Fred’s environment.

 “No! No! Don’t put it in! It’ll kill Freddie!” they chanted.

 In the end, poor Fred was no longer visible.

 “We are responsible for the safety and health of our residents,” Young said. “But we also have a responsibility to environment downstream.”

 “We want to engage with the kids and talk about water because it is something they use every day. It is something the kids can relate to and understand,” Jordan Allen said.

 “If we teach the kids, they will teach their parents.” Daniel Allen, from Water Maintenance, said.