Donna M. Perry: Face Time: Alfred Richards -- helping keep Jay's wastewater system shipshape

Feb. 5—JAY — Alfred Richards grew up the youngest of 15 children on a farm in East Jay.

He jokes that "My mom tried for perfection and got it with me."

He attended Jay schools. Richards began working part time for the town in 1974 while in school mowing cemeteries and working at the then-new Jay Wastewater Treatment Facility in North Jay. He continued working part-time for the town Sewer Department to assist Superintendent Mark Holt, who now also oversees the Livermore Falls Sewer Department and treatment plant.

After high school, he started working full time for the town of Jay Highway Department and Jay Fire Rescue in 1977. In July 2001 he went to work full time for the Jay Sewer Department.

In 2004 he obtained his Maine Grade II Wastewater Operator Certification and obtained his New England Water Environment Association Grade II Collection System Certification in 2014.

In September of 2022 Richards was recognized by the Maine Water Environmental Association with the Charles Perry Collection Systems Award for his lifetime of service and achievements.

Richards retired in 2021 after working full time for 44 years, with 20 of those at the Sewer Department, but continues to work part time for the department.

He lives in Jay with his three miniature Sheltie dogs named Shania Twain, Whitney Houston and Martina McBride. He has four adult children and seven grandchildren. In his spare time he likes motorcycling, snowmobiling, four-wheeling and wood craft making. He also enjoys drawing, painting, reading, gardening and hunting and fishing with family and friends.

I was working for the Jay Highway Department going on 25 years and there was an opening at the Sewer Department. I was senior man so I put my name in. Mark loved me so much he hired me. (LOL) He knew I was a hard worker.

Lots of help from Mark and lots of hands-on and studying.

By making everything up to date and fixed. And on call 24 hours, seven days a week.

Because all of Mark's workers went back to the mill to work and he needed help. He was the only one on call and working then. No weekends off 24/7.

We had a treatment plant with lots of testing, hauling sludge, wasting sludge. Now it's plowing, yard work, pump stations, mowing lawns, cleaning easements, rebuilding pumps and equipment.

(In July 2020, Jay abandoned the treatment plant and the site was repurposed as a pump station to transfer the wastewater from North Jay Village to the Livermore Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant.)

I don't dislike it. I work part time and it is great.

Yes, I was. I went to Sunday River to be with the guys I knew (involved) in wastewater. And Mark surprised me with it. I was shocked!