Sep 01, 2011

Storm Floods Kill Vermont Water Plant Manager

Hurricane Irene rains last Sunday took life of public works veteran

Raging flood waters spawned in Vermont by Hurricane Irene took the life of Rutland Water Treatment Plant Manager Michael J. Garofano, 55, Sunday as he attempted to check water utility intake pipes near the city’s reservoir.

Garofano’s body was recovered Monday in the swollen waters of Mendon Brook, Vt. following the flash flooding, said Rutland Commissioner of Public Works Alan Shelvey.

“Mike was respected by everyone here,” Shelvey said of the 30-year public works veteran. “He was the perfect person for that job. He was very zealous about anything that affected water quality. Mike was making sure the water supply was protected — he was doing what he always does to safeguard water quality.”

Garofano’s son, Michael G. Garofano, 24, who had accompanied his father Sunday night, was still missing by the end of the day Wednesday. A Vermont National Guard helicopter, canines and about 60 people have been searching for the younger Garofano, an independent landscaper.

The elder Garofano was a member of the American Water Works Assn.

Hurricane Irene’s rains also took out 600 ft of iron pipe conveying water to the city reservoir. “Until a new pipe is built, we can’t pump more water into the reservoir,” Shelvey said. The city estimates there is about 30 days of water remaining in the reservoir and has asked residents to conserve. The Rutland plant was not damaged.