Rob Pudelka has taken the helm at New Milford's wastewater treatment facility.

He noted he has big shoes to fill, following Ken Bailey as the sewer plant's supervisor.

Bailey was the plant's supervisor from 1967 to January 2014, when he died at home at age 64.

"Ken had everything so organized," Pudelka said from the supervisor's office. "I've got 40 years of statistics and history here in these folders."

Like Bailey, Pudelka holds a Class 4 Operator license from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

He started his new job Aug. 11 at the West Street plant.

His previous position was at the Grass Island Treatment Plant in Greenwich, where he had worked as an operator for eight years. He worked for the town of Greenwich overall for 12 years.

"The state DEEP has a program to earn your Class 4 license, and I also did online studies through a Sacramento program," said Pudelka, 47.

"I always wanted to run my own plant, and my supervisor in Greenwich told me what to do to achieve that goal."

After studying history at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury for several years, Pudelka realized his interest lay in science.

He enjoys running a plant of New Milford's size, which is classified as a biological nutrient remover, cleaning phosphorous and nitrogen from the wastewater.

The Grass Island plant is similar but larger.

"The Housatonic (River) flows down to the Long Island Sound and the thought is to remove the nutrients before they hit the Sound," he said.

Pudelka lives in Danbury with his wife, Maureen, and their three school-age children.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322