CWEA Member Thomas Sinclair Featured by City of Modesto

City of Modesto recently featured Thomas Sinclair, an Environmental Regulatory Compliance Manager for the City of Modesto in their Friday Feature on Facebook.

Thomas is responsible for planning, developing and overseeing the work of staff involved in pretreatment and storm water inspection and enforcement programs that promote a safer environment for the citizens of Modesto. Sinclair has a BS in Geology and Oceanography, and a minor in chemistry. He holds certifications as a Grade III Environmental Compliance Inspector, a Grade III Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, a Grade II Laboratory Analyst, Grade II Mechanical Technologist from the California Water Environment Association, and is OSHA certified. He has multi-disciplinary experience in environmental, safety, and regulatory compliance.

Thomas Sinclair loves what he does. He has a passion for his work because it allows him the chance to make a positive impact in the way we solve citywide challenges. When asked what his favorite thing about his field of study is, Thomas replied, “This field is not static. It’s very dynamic, and regulations are always changing. It always gives you something to work towards because when you think you’ve got something, it changes.”

Recently, Mr. Sinclair had the opportunity to present a paper entitled a Risk Base Model for Evaluating and Mitigating Pollutants of Concern, and Total Maximum Daily Load to Storm Water Using Best Management Practices at the annual Water Environmental Federation Conference in New Orleans. Mr. Sinclair developed a new equation [Risk Score = (probability)*(significance) * [∑ (weight factors) * (Rating)] , based on the Drake equation, which will allow the City of Modesto to identify contaminants in storm water far better than ever before.

The Drake Equation is used to estimate the number of communicating civilizations in the cosmos, or more simply put, the odds of finding intelligent life in the universe. It may be hard to understand how finding intelligent life beyond planet Earth has anything to do with identifying contaminants in storm water but Mr. Sinclair draws a remarkable connection.

The Drake Equation works by using an algorithm that helps identify probabilities. By using the Drake Equation, somebody can gain a better understanding of where and how possible life beyond Earth may exist. By using Sinclair’s equation, somebody can identify the probability of when and how a storm water contaminant develops into a high risk level. Thus, allowing the City of Modesto the ability to allocate appropriate resources in a very effective way.

Thomas believes there are models built into our way of life that will allow us the chance to solve the world’s most complex problems if we figure out how to understand and utilize them to our advantage. Mr. Sinclair also believes that everything in the universe is connected, “what’s happening in the cosmos, is also happening right on Earth. We all have the potential to learn something from others so let’s not hesitate to do it.”

The city values solution-oriented employees, who use innovation to solve problems in uncharted territory. This is how we’re reimagining government.

About the Author

Megan Barillo

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