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Breeden Retiring From CMU

Bill Breeden was 19 years old when he began working with the water maintenance crew of city-owned Chillicothe Municipal Utilities. Now, nearly 43 years later, Bill is retiring as the city's wastewater superintendent. A reception was held in his honor on Friday, January 6, at the CMU business office.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

In 1973, Bill was recently married when his wife, Millie, and was asked by an acquaintance who was the water distribution foreman if Bill would be interested in a job at the city's water plant. After interviewing with Dale Phillips, who was then the water and wastewater superintendent, Bill was hired in the area of water maintenance. At the time, CMU was in the process of bringing on wells and upgrading its water distribution system. Bill worked for the water department for 15 years before taking a position with CMU's wastewater department. He was employed as wastewater foreman for eight years until he became wastewater superintendent in 1997. He held that position for 20 years.

Bill has been part of many projects that have improved the city's wastewater management system. When Bill joined the department, CMU was in the process of beginning a new separation system and constructing a new wastewater plant a couple miles south of Chillicothe. The new facility replaced one that was built around the 1950s directly southeast of U.S. Highways 36 and 65. Around 2000, CMU embarked on an extensive project to clean the city's sanitary sewer system and video record the condition of the underground network - a complex web of lines that could extend 80 miles if put end-to-end. The city has approximately 1,400 manholes. In 2006, CMU implemented a GIS mapping system that digitally mapped the underground network of lines. Prior to GIS, the lines were recorded manually and based largely on the knowledge of individuals who had been involved with the system for many years. CMU also conducted smoke tests on approximately 158,000 linear feet of pipe, looking for deficiencies in the system and things that shouldn't be connected to the system. CMU later embarked on a rehabilitation project that involved installing a poly liner inside old tile lines to help preserve them and improve the operation. The liner has a life expectancy of 75-plus years. Overall, approximately 25 miles of sanitary sewer lines were lined. CMU replaced its old irrigation system (used for applying waste sludge) two years ago, replacing a system that was installed in 1990. CMU applies around 230 tons of waste sludge per year to a 155-acre farm that CMU owns.

During his nearly 43 years with CMU, Bill has worked with four general managers: Keith Beardmore, Ray Blakely, Steve Svec, and Jim Gillilan. And, during this time, also, the city has experienced growth in new housing developments and the installation of new wastewater lines. "It has changed a lot," Bill said, noting that things have improved. "We don't have a lot of the problems like we used to have when we had heavy rains." Bill said he is appreciative of the Board of Public Works during his time as superintendent. "I would like to thank the present and past board members for all of their support over the past 20 years," he said.

Aside from his direct involvement with CMU, Bill also served as the plumbing inspector for the city of Chillicothe from 1993 until the early 2000s, inspecting industrial, commercial, residential plumbing and all aspects of plumbing. He also served 22 years in the Missouri National Guard unit based in Chillicothe, retiring in 1995 after 22 years. Bill and Millie have been married for 44 years. They have two children: Rachel Boley (and husband, Ricky, with children Kiley and Kinlei), of Chillicothe and Travis Breeden (and wife, Melody, with children Landen, Hudson and Bennett), of Hamilton, Ohio. Bill anticipates spending more time with his grandchildren during his retirement.

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