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Loudoun Water GM plans to retire after 36 years

Times-Mirror File Photo/Beverly Denny Dale Hammes, general manager of Loudoun Water, briefs members of the media on a study released on water treatment and pipeline options for Raspberry Falls Aug. 18, 2011. Hammes will retire in June 2014 after 36 years with Loudoun Water.
After working at Loudoun Water for 36 years, General Manager Dale Hammes announced plans to retire by June 30, 2014. Hammes has been with Loudoun Water for his entire career, starting there as a staff engineer after graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

When Hammes began working with Loudoun Water, he was the only engineer, the company had 25 employees and only served 5,000 customers. Now there are 200 employees and 66,000 customers.

"The biggest change is growth," said Hammes. "Growth in the service area and growth in the types of businesses that we serve."

When Loudoun Water was a smaller organization and Hammes was the only engineer, he was able to help out in many of the departments and learn the facets of the business, as well as witnessing how the company adapted to changing times.

"I was fortunate to have many jobs within the same organization because the job kept changing. I was still the engineer, but … the regulations changed and the county was changing so it was never boring."

Among the most significant regulatory changes occurring during Hammes' time at Loudoun Water was the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which set nutrient limits on water that feeds into the bay.

"About the time we were building the Broad Run Water Reclamation Facility, it became apparent that there would be nitrogen and phosphorus limits on waste water treatment facilities," said Hammes. "We were able to design state-of-the-art removal in our facility."

The Broad Run Water Reclamation Facility, which treats waste water and sends it to data centers to be reused for cooling, is one of Hammes' many achievements during his time as general manager. In the year before he leaves, he will be working on another major project: the Potomac Water Supply Program, which will supply 40 million gallons of water per day, in addition to the 50 million the county already purchases from Fairfax County.

Besides implementing water pumping from the Potomac River and treating it to be used for drinking, the plan prepares for the future. Hammes said, "It's one of our more visionary programs at Loudoun Water. We're going to be storing raw water in retired quarries so we have an adequate supply of water in preparation for climate change and some of those things that will undoubtedly affect water supply."

Alongside his usual work as general manager, Hammes is now working on a transition plan for his retirement.

"It's a convenient time for the organization to look for a general manager to lead the organization beyond my tenure here," said Hammes. "It's just a convenient time for me personally and professionally to take another step."

Though Hammes will be retiring from his position as general manager, he plans to continue working with the organization.

"Loudoun Water is the only company that I've worked for professionally and I will always take a keen interest in Loudoun Water and its challenges and successes," said Hammes. "Loudoun Water will always be very special to me."


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