Water superintendent retires after 36 years at Kutztown Borough

Patriot photo by Dave Barr Walter Hess, of Kutztown, retired after working 36 years for Kutztown Borough.

The Borough of Kutztown is losing a dedicated worker.

Walter Hess retired from the position of Superintendent of the Water and Water Waste Departments on June 7, a title he held from 2003 until now.

“It was an excellent opportunity to grow as a person. It was a very enjoyable job,” Hess said.

A graduate of Fleetwood Area High School, Hess joined the U.S. Army in 1971 and served two terms in Germany, which was “very nice” according to Hess.

“ taught me discipline and a lot of respect for people. I got to see a lot of countries in Europe. It was a good time,” Hess said.

After leaving the Army in 1977, Hess began looking for a post-military career and he found one with the borough of Kutztown.

“A position opened, I applied, and luckily I was chosen,” Hess said. He started in the States Department as a trash man and was there for three years until 1980. He transferred to the Water Department in 1980 and worked there until 1987, at which point he went to work in the Waste Water Department until 2003. All together, the number of years Hess spent working for the Borough of Kutztown totaled 36 years.

Working for the borough of Kutztown meant that Hess would be working with neighbors and fellow residents.

“Working for the residents was very rewarding. I grew up with a lot of employees. Got to know a lot of people, made a lot of friends,” Hess said.

“He was very good to work with. He was very understanding. Very knowledgeable,” Dale Kramer said. Kramer works at the Maxatawny water plant as a crew leader and worked under Hess.

During his time working for the borough, Hess helped make many changes to the water and waste water departments, including $30 million worth of improvements that included the operation of the waste water treatment plant, newer technology and process techniques for the waste water department and the construction of a water treatment plant for the water department which was up and running in January of 2004.

Another big achievement for Hess was that Kutztown became one of the first places in Pennsylvania to be certified by the Department of Environmental Protection to have a DEP source water protection plan. Hess himself became certified in water and in wastewater by DEP and is also a member of the Pennsylvania Rural Water Association and the Eastern Pennsylvania Water Pollution Control Operators Association.

“That was one of the reasons I got the superintendent job,” Hess said of being certified by DEP.

With his main job at the borough now over, Hess is able to spend more time with his children and grandchildren and enjoy some of his hobbies, such as golf. Hess has a part-time job, working two days a week at Rich Maiden Golf Course, working in the pro shop. At some point, he and his wife, Jessie, would like to travel across the United States. One of the items on Hess’ bucket list combines those two things. Hess wants to be able to golf in every state in the United States.

“We’ll start with the lower 48 first,” he said.

It’s not just the different states in America that Hess wants to travel to. One more item on his bucket list is to go back to Europe.

“I’d love to go back to Germany,” Hess said.

For now, he will be able to reflect on all his accomplishments for Kutztown.

“I think they were pretty much very proud of the work I’ve done for the borough,” Hess said.

“My dad has always truly cared about the Borough and of course the residents of Kutztown, ” said Walter’s daughterJennifer Hess. “His pride, hard work, and determination to get things done and get them done the right way were always most important to him. I think he will be remembered as someone you could always count on, someone who always saw a task through to successful completion.”