As both the superintendent of the Madison Water Department and pastor of the Rutledge Baptist Church, Wayne Ghann says each job has its rewards and challenges. “They keep me up at night sometimes,” he laughs. Ghann manages 14 employees at the water and the wastewater facilities. Each employee works a 10-hour shift, keeping the facilities manned 20 hours a day.
Wayne is proud of the water produced at the City of Madison’s two water treatment plants. Our water, says Ghann, is top notch. “I would put ours against any bottled water you can buy.” Water, says Ghann, is tested and re-tested during each shift. “There’s a good bit of work going on,” he says. “They test all day long.”
Water coming from Hard Labor Creek is processed at the city’s Second Street plant and water from Lake Oconee is processed at the Briar Lane facility. Altogether, he says, the city processes more than 1.5 million gallons of clean, safe drinking water every day on average for its more than 3,000 customers. Madison is well-positioned for future growth and water use. The Second Street facility is permitted to produce 1.75 million gallons a day and the Lake Oconee facility is permitted to produce 2 million gallons per day.
Ghann has been working with the city Water Department since he sold his plumbing business in 1997, starting as an operator at the city’s Second Street plant. He wasn’t convinced the job would be a good fit. “I wasn’t planning on staying but just a little while,” he laughs. In 2011 he was named superintendent.
He felt the same way before he became the pastor of Rutledge Baptist Church. Ghann has been the pastor of the church for the past 30 years. Leading the church, he says, was a calling he struggled with. “I never wanted to be a pastor,” he says, “I just wanted to be a plumber. I fought it for a lot of years but I’m glad I surrendered to it,” he says. He also learned from his father, who pastored Faith Baptist Church for 45 years.
Wayne has been married to his wife, Lorrie, for 44 years. The couple has three children: Daniel, Josh, and Amanda and nine grandchildren.
For the moment, he says, he finds himself in the right place. Whether at church or at work, Ghann says he keeps his perspective faith-based and practical. A calming hand over sometimes turbulent water. “I just try to treat everybody fairly,” he says. “During times of crisis, I find I can sometimes give comfort and give people some peace.”