Former Tyrone Borough superintendent enjoying retirement
Nulton’s efforts were recognized by local river association
When the next big rainstorm hits the region in the middle of the night, Timothy “Tim” Nulton and his wife, Ivalou, plan to open a bottle of wine and celebrate their retirements.
Tim’s retirement as superintendent of the Tyrone Borough Sewer Department became official
Feb. 21, and his wife retired recently from the blood bank within the laboratory at UPMC Altoona.
“It won’t really feel real until then,” Tim said of retirement after 42 years of service. “It will be real when I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night and go check on the plant,” Nulton said. “She would always get up with me and stay up worrying about me. So, we’ll both enjoy my staying home. It will be nice not to have that worry.”
He’s been using his accumulated vacation time since Jan. 3 and adjusting to a retiree’s schedule. The couple have always enjoyed traveling, and plan to visit Utah later this year. Meanwhile, the couple will remain a familiar sight as they bicycle through the area on their tandem bike.
“I’ve been in the field a long time,” he reflected. “There’s a lot of science to keeping this type of plant compliant. When word got out I was ready to retire, I had a lot of visits from state officials.”
His efforts were recently recognized by the Little Juniata River Association with its Friend of the River Award presented annually to the person or organization who has contributed the most to efforts to “monitor, protect and improve” the Little Juniata River, said Bill Anderson of the association.
“Someone like him never gets any recognition,” Anderson said. “Where is the glory in running a sewer plant? But they have a very important job, and if they aren’t diligent, they can destroy a river. They have to know a lot to maintain water quality. Domestic sewage is not an easy thing to manage.”
For Susan Bonsell, administrator of the Northern Blair County Regional Sewer Authority, Nulton’s dependability, trustworthiness and dedication distinguished him.
“He did his job with heart. It wasn’t just a job to him,” Bonsell said. “He truly was concerned about the plant, its operation and its effect on people.”
The Tyrone facility is among the largest in the state with a dozen industries, including a paper mill, contributing to its waste flow. It uses bacteria to break down sewage. To keep the process working correctly requires deftly balancing bacteria, oxygen and “feeding” it multiple nutrients. It all has to be balanced or it won’t work correctly.
A high amount of stormwater coming into the plant can upset the balance.
“You have to work and keep things within permit limits and to monitor and adjust to all the different variables that we were faced with during storm events,” he said. “It takes a dedicated person to do this, and that’s what I’m most proud of that the water going out of the plant was safe and clean.”
Nulton was hired at the plant about a year after the existing plant was built. He rose in responsibility over the years and at retirement supervised nine other employees.
“The new plant helped improve the river immensely,” Nulton said humbly deflecting credit. “The old plant discharged directly into the river with no pretreatment. … We eliminated the metals going into the river, and we actually have people who recreate in the effluent.”
Ironically, Nulton hasn’t fished the river he helped restore.
“I’ve never fished. My dad was a hunter, and I love to hunt,” he said. In retirement, the Nultons plan to learn how to tie flies through a course taught by Anderson and fly fish.
“I love the river, and I want to enjoy it,” he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Patt Keith is at 949-7030.
Name: Timothy “Tim” Nulton
Family: Married to Ivalou Nulton, 40 years; adult children: Andrea Russell, an optometrist, State College; Eric Nulton, an electrical engineer with Penn State, Bellefonte; Ethan Nulton, D.O., a hospitalist, Pittsburgh; and four grandchildren
Position: Retired Friday as superintendent of the Tyrone Borough Sewer Department
Education: Class of 1977, Tyrone Area High School; extensive training/certifications
Member: Church of the Good Shepherd Methodist Church
Awards and honors: 2020 Friend of the River Award, presented by the Little Juniata River Association and 2017 Pennsylvania Water Environmental Association Industrial Waste Pretreatment Award