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The City Journals

New public works director brings years of experience to job

Apr 09, 2018 04:25PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray Water Superintendent Danny Astill assumes the top post at Murray Public Works Department. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

In the 1850s, the first artesian well in Murray was dug by Gottlieb Berger. That simple little well would eventually become the start of a vast network of pipelines that presently handles billions of gallons of water yearly. Danny Astill, the man overseeing Murray’s waterworks for the last two decades, is taking on a new role, having been appointed director of Public Works by Mayor Blair Camp.

Astill, who had been serving as water superintendent, began working in the field of water and wastewater in 1979. 

“I needed a job and had an opportunity to work for a local improvement district. As I worked there, I came to see and understand the value of the services we were providing for the community and decided that this is what I needed to concentrate on going forward in my life,” said Astill.

In 1994, Astill was invited to interview with Murray City for the position of water superintendent, and he began working for the city in April of that year. His responsibilities included managing both the Water and Wastewater divisions in the city. At that time, Murray City had 18 culinary water wells and seven springs, with about 185 miles of transmission and distribution water lines transporting an average of about 2.85 billion gallons of water annually. The Wastewater Division had about 125 miles of sewer lines and four sewer lift stations that conveyed about 1.45 billion gallons of water to the Central Valley treatment facility each year.

Taking over for Doug Hill, who has been appointed the role of the city’s chief administrative officer, Astill is strictly business. “I have been inspired by several mayors and numerous council members and city department directors of how much can be accomplished through an attitude of cooperation.

“I have been involved in many big projects that sometimes would take quite a while to construct and may have cost millions of dollars, but sometimes we all forget about everyday things that we often take for granted; we just expect things,” reflected Astill.

 “There are so many things that Murray City Public Works Department does, and they are done so well that we become complacent,” Astill said. “When we get up in the morning and expect that water will be there when we turn on our taps; when we flush the toilet we know that it will not back up in our basements and will go somewhere to be treated; when we open our garage and head to work, we know that the snow has been cleared and roadways are passable and safe; and we can expect our garbage to be picked up.” 

Astill keeps it all in perspective, however. “Of course, providing the many services is not without its challenges, with ever-changing regulations, changing weather patterns, escalating costs, and retaining a well-trained staff always provides a level of concern, yet I am very optimistic that we can continue to provide exceptional services and accomplish great things in the future.” 

He notes that in the last 23 years he has been involved in countless public works projects, including numerous water, sewer, and storm-water line replacement projects, road rebuilding, water-well drilling and rehabilitation and culinary water reservoir construction. 

Former Director Doug Hill endorsed Astill saying, “As Murray City’s former water superintendent for almost 25 years, Danny brings significant knowledge of public works to the city. The citizens will continue to benefit from excellent water quality, transportation improvements, street maintenance, waste collection and other public works services.”