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Moorhead plant workers gather to watch episode of 'Dirty Jobs'

Moorhead Public Service employees gather to watch the Tuesday airing of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" with their family and friends at Buffalo Wild Wings in Moorhead. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

MOORHEAD - Not far from the water treatment plant featured on Tuesday night's episode of "Dirty Jobs," more than 30 people gathered at the Buffalo Wild Wings here to watch the show's debut.

The Discovery Channel show sent a crew to Moorhead in April to film footage of Moorhead Public Service employees doing maintenance on the plant's water-softening basin for providing water to Moorhead, Dilworth and other area customers.

Troy Hall, water division manager of the plant, said the show's producers had originally contacted the plant in January about possibly coming to Moorhead to film an episode.

The employees put together an amusing video of themselves working on the water softener base and uploaded it to YouTube. Hall then sent the link to the show's producer, and within 10 minutes the producer called him back, still laughing, Hall said.

Very few people knew ahead of time about the show's plan to come to Moorhead to film. Hall said he kept it on a need-to-know basis only.

Alan Neer, a plant operator who appeared in the episode, said the plant's staff enjoyed working with the show's host, Mike Rowe, during the episode's filming.

"It was fun having a celebrity down in the muck with us," Neer said. "It was a lot of fun."

Kris Knutson, a supervisor at the plant, said Roe was a down-to-earth guy who seemed interested in how the jobs at the plant worked.

"He's really interested in everyday jobs," Knutson said. "He does the show to give the spotlight to jobs like ours."

Neer said his family was pretty excited to see him on TV. His wife had been spreading the word about the episode's air date in the days and weeks leading up to it, he said.

Both Neer and Knutson hoped that the show might provide a little bit of exposure to the employees of the plant and of the important services they provide to the area.

"We don't get a lot of exposure for the things that we do," Neer said.

"A lot of people don't understand where drinking water comes from," Knutson added, as the opening montage of the episode flashed across several TV screens in the restaurant. "Hopefully this episode gives them a taste of that."

In the opening minutes of the episode, Rowe does indeed get straight to the dirty part of the job - getting into the softening basin of the plant and its mucky layer of sludge.

If you missed the episode Tuesday night, check for future airings.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535