CWEA member Karen Honer interviewed for article series about women who are shaping Lodi’s future, in honor of Women’s History Month.
When Karen Honer sees trash on the side of the road she stops and picks it up. That type of cleanliness and respect for the environment is the same approach she takes when treating Lodi’s wastewater.
Honer, the superintendent at the White Slough wastewater treatment plant, has always had dreams of being an environmentalist and planned to have a career as a park ranger. However, those plans quickly changed once she was introduced to the world of wastewater.
“Everyone thinks that they’re going to go straight into whatever they think they’re going to do in life, and you never get to your goal without a lot of zigzags,” Honer said. “When I decided to be a wastewater plant operator I thought I was just totally throwing my degree away, but the more I got into the field I realized it came full circle. I needed to understand the science and math and the environment to be able to properly to do my job.”
She didn’t realize how much she’d be achieving her goals of being environmentally conscious and protecting the environment until she fully understood what wastewater treatment entailed.
Honer, a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a degree in Natural Resources Management, touts more that 30 years of experience in the wastewater industry.
“When I went to school, I had no clue what wastewater was and didn’t care, I planned on being a park ranger,” Honer said. “Me and Smokey the Bear were going to hang out in the cabin in the woods, and that’s how I was going to spend my life.”