This is the second in a series of posts by MMWD’s interns, summer helpers, and watershed aides about their experiences at the district. Read the previous post here.
by Lauren Valenti, Water Treatment Intern
When I was young I knew I wanted to become a scientist. I pictured myself wearing a lab coat and figuring out how stuffed worked and why. I am very proud to be doing just that—specifically studying water treatment and quality. I got my degree from Sonoma State University with a concentration in Water Quality and Hazardous Waste Management. When I found out I would become one of the first interns to work at one of Marin Municipal Water District’s water treatment plants, I was elated to start working.
I was placed at the Bon Tempe Water Treatment Plant located on Mt. Tamalpais. Bon Tempe is an amazing facility; Lake Bon Tempe is our main source of water. Water flows to our plant and through it by gravity alone. This facility can act as an emergency relief plant serving Marin County because it can produce water directly to the public with very little to no power at all.
I was treated just like a normal trainee while accompanying operators to monitor chemical feeding and water quality tests in our own lab at the plant. It might not sound hard, but when put on a four-hour schedule of rounds, lab work, calculations, chemical deliveries, washing filters, filling out paperwork, and constantly monitoring multiple computer screens, one’s day and/or night can become demanding. Yes, nights too! The plant is always running—24 hours a day, seven days a week, including all holidays.
The experience overall has been invaluable for me. As a district MMWD sets high standards that surpass many federal and state regulations. This is an outstanding achievement when numerous different departments and many individuals are relentlessly working as one. I have been privileged to work with many other men and women who exhibit an overwhelming sense of professionalism in a field that I truly care about and see a future for myself in, thanks to MMWD.