Meet Hillsborough’s Newest Engineer

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023
Image of man in front of building
Environmental Engineering Supervisor Bryant Green stands outside the Hillsborough Town Hall Annex on East Corbin Street, where he works. He said he’s enjoyed his first few months with the town: “People are here because they care about what they do.”

It’s Engineer Week in the United States! Meet Hillsborough’s newest engineer, Bryant Green.

The civil engineer joined the town in October, moving from the City of Durham Department of Water Management, where he worked for nearly 13 years. As Hillsborough’s first environmental engineering supervisor, Green is responsible for technical, engineering and administrative duties that support the town’s utilities department and the divisions of public space and sustainability, public works, and stormwater and environmental services.

“No two days are the same,” he said, noting on this particular day last week that he was examining pressure readings from a pump to determine why it’s not performing as expected and reviewing a contract to solidify the design scope for renovation of the Adron F. Thompson Water/Sewer Facility, which was built in 1936, formerly served as the town’s water treatment plant and now houses the town's water distribution and wastewater collection divisions.

Engineers typically go to school for engineering, Green said. He earned his bachelor of civil engineering from the University of Florida and his master of engineering from N.C. State University. Then they end up doing a lot of other things, he continued, joking that an engineer’s job is part engineer with some intuition and a bit of lawyer, accountant and psychiatrist duties mixed in.

On some days, Green reviews the work of other engineers that the town contracts with. Yet, he noted, “we try to self-engineer as much as we can.” The town now has three engineers, with Utilities Director Marie Strandwitz and Civil Engineering Technician Tyler Freeman rounding out the utilities administration.

Part of Green’s work is also prioritizing the projects that need to be completed for the town and determining what to ask for in the town’s capital improvements plan. He pointed to a stack of papers on his desk, noting the field data collected by employees is reviewed and used in setting the Utilities Department’s priorities. Some major projects likely on the horizon in Fiscal Year 2024, which starts July 1, are:

  • Relocating and upgrading a pump station located on the bank of the Eno River that receives more than 75% of the town’s wastewater and is over 40 years old.
  • Renovating and expanding the Water/Sewer Facility.
  • Building a booster pump station to receive water from Orange Water and Sewer Authority during times of need.

National days and weeks like Engineers Week help people understand the effort that goes into operating a system like the town’s water and sewer system.

Green noted that sometimes people take for granted the water that comes out of their faucets. The work to pull raw water from the Eno River, treat it for conversion to drinking water, and pump it through miles of pipes and through tanks throughout town to homes and buildings is not seen. Additionally, people seldom see the work to maintain water and sewer lines, pump stations and a multitude of parts at the water and wastewater treatment plants.

“They especially don’t want to smell us,” Green joked. He added, “If you don’t know what we’re doing, it means we’re doing what we’re supposed to.”

More information

Interested in learning more about engineers?

  • Check out the Engineers Week page of the National Society of Professional Engineers, which includes links to various programs including Chats with Change Makers, an interview series aimed at interesting middle school students in engineering.
  • Contact Environmental Engineering Supervisor Bryant Green, who would be happy to talk with you about engineering and why he doesn’t mind paying the out-of-town rates for water and sewer services. Contact Green by email or at 919-296-9630.