Lopez takes helm at Clearfield Municipal Authority
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Lopez takes helm at Clearfield Municipal Authority

May 29, 2024

Richard Lopez of Clearfield is the Clearfield Municipal Authority’s new manager.

Richard Lopez was named the new manager of the Clearfield Municipal Authority last month, replacing former Manager John Williams.

Lopez was born in Arizona and his family moved to Clearfield when he was eight years old. He has lived in Clearfield ever since.

He graduated from Clearfield Area High School, during which he took two years studying drafting and design at the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center.

After graduation he began working in the construction and installation of sanitary sewer plants.

For 26 years he worked in the field traveling extensively throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region until 2013 when he took a job at the CMA as a utility worker for a lot less money than what he was making in construction.

But he said it was more than worth it.

“I was tired of living out of hotel rooms,” Lopez said.

More importantly, his wife, Wendy Lopez, and their three sons Christian, Andrew and Anthony, live in Clearfield and his old job kept him on the road for much of the week. He would only be home on weekends and working at the CMA allowed him to spend more time with his family.

“I was missing out on a big part of their childhood,” Lopez said of his old job. Although he now makes less money than he did, Lopez said he is better off.

“Being home with my family is worth a lot.”

Additionally, Lopez said he really enjoys living in Clearfield.

“I never even thought of leaving,” Lopez said.

Lopez said he loves the small town atmosphere of Clearfield and said it is a great place to raise a family.

“It’s just a nice little town to grow up in,” Lopez said.

In 2020 he was named foreman of the utility crew, which is responsible for fixing and maintaining the municipal authority’s water lines.

It is a 24-hour-a-day job where he would get called out at all hours of the night, usually during bad weather, to fix broken water lines, which occurs more than people realize, and occur more frequently during winter.

And although the CMA works every year to update its water lines, it still has a lot of old water lines that are susceptible to leaks and breaks, Lopez said.

As manager, Lopez said he plans to continue to look for grants to upgrade the CMA’s water lines because although upgrading the pipes is expensive, it is less costly in the long run both in wasted water and the labor to fix the water breaks. Plus customers and businesses are negatively impacted and inconvenienced when they temporarily lose water service.

“So we want to get them all updated to minimize the breaks and leaks,” Lopez said.

Many of the old water lines are made of cast iron and they are replacing them with ductile iron or C900, which is a form of heavy duty PVC pipe, which have a life expectancy of more than 100 years, Lopez said.

In the near future, the CMA is looking to replace the filters at the Montgomery Run Reservoir with state-of-the-art membrane filters. Fortunately, the water source at the Montgomery Run Reservoir is extremely clean, which makes their life a lot easier when it comes to water treatment, Lopez said.

And there is a large sanitary sewer project in the works to replace the sewer mains from Downtown Clearfield to the sanitary sewer plant along Beauty Lane.

For him personally, the biggest challenge as manager is learning all the new technology. Everything is computerized now and although he was familiar with computers, he has to work with them a lot more now as manager than he did as foreman.

He said all of his coworkers have been extremely helpful and understanding during this process.

“Everything is going smoothly,” Lopez said. “I have no complaints.”

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