Keeping the stream clean for good reason
By Willie Kiernan
Tom Clarke has announced his retirement as Chief Operator of the Madison County Sewer District as of May 31.
"He was hired back with some administrative responsibilities and training until everything gets up to speed, but this'll be nice for him," said his wife, Barbara Clarke.
Clarke has been with the plant since it opened and has worked there for more than 31 years.
"The plant is in great shape because of his commitment and efforts," his wife said. "And Chittenango Creek is better for it."
Tom Clarke has been married for 23 years with two stepsons and five grandchildren. While living in the village of Cazenovia all his life, he moved out of the village in 2004 to Nelson. He served as Cazenovia Mayor from 2002 to 2004 and as a trustee for 11 years prior to that.
"It's a wonderfully challenging experience being married all these years," Barbara Clarke said. "I've watched and admired his dedication to his position."
The sewer pipes lead to the county facility on Route 13 where the wastewater is chemically treated and filtered. The residue that is left is then sent on its way into Chittenango Creek where it is routinely inspected with lab samples every month. The facility is considered one of the best in the area by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
"He's worked long and hard and now it's time for him to enjoy his holidays and weekends and not have to run out in the middle of a storm," Barbara Clarke said. "But I know his heart will always be there."
Currently the president of the CACDA board, Tom Clarke is also involved in a project to have a public compost site on the grounds at the treatment plant to be targeted for 2009.
"He'll be staying involved with the community," said his wife.
A member of the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers since 1988, Tom Clarke also loves to fish.
"We'll hang out, walk the dogs together. We get along great," Barbara Clarke said. "But really he's ready to use the stream he's protected all these years to leisurely fish and enjoy."