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Thursday, November 3, 2016

PROFILES: Pete and Todd's Sewer Simulator showcases the sights, sounds of a subterranean system

Todd Andexler, left, and Pete Lehman, creative minds behind @neorsd's Sewer Simulator.

When you can't take guests underground, bring the underground above ground. That's exactly what Todd and Pete did.

If you attended the District’s Open House this year or last, you may have walked through our Sewer Simulator. Field Tech Operators Pete Lehman and Todd Andexler are the Sewer System Maintenance & Operations masterminds behind this unique attraction.

The duo transformed a rusty storage container into an educational display, complete with running water and props that simulate a sewer environment.

Todd said that the inspiration for the Simulator came two years ago from a virtual sewer exhibit by Pittsburgh’s wastewater agency ALCOSAN. When asked about the biggest challenge, he replied, “Building the pump system to run a continuous cycle of water. We had to build it in a way that the pipes wouldn’t overflow or run dry.” Pete proudly chimed in, “We got it right on the first try.”

ALCOSAN's Open House routinely draws more than a thousand visitors on a September Saturday. Based on their model, the Sewer District fashioned and expanded it's own annual event to top more than 2,000 guests this past September 17.

Pete and Todd have a lot in common. Both are firearm enthusiasts, hunters, and knife collectors, and both enjoy camping with their families and taking on home projects. “We both like spending time with our families and doing things outdoors, simple things,” shared Pete.

In addition, both started their careers learning how to make things, and their current projects reflect that skill set. Pete’s latest venture has been remodeling his kitchen and replacing windows and interior doors. Meanwhile, one of Todd’s hobbies led to his latest project: refinishing an antique table for his daughter.

The Sewer Simulator is being considered for several other events in the coming year, but the one place we know it will be in 2017 is our September Open House. Like many of the creative minds behind this year’s success, Pete and Todd are already discussing how they can improve their exhibit for the big day September 16.

Story by Communications Specialist Yolanda Kelly.

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