Mark Koekemoer finds laboratory work very fulfilling. “It’s not just a day job where you collect a paycheck. It is an opportunity where you can go home to your family and feel good about what you have accomplished,” he says.
“We are supporting the greater industry, providing data for operators to use, identifying trouble spots, giving regulatory guidance, and monitoring how we’re doing on our discharge (to the receiving stream).
“I love the daily challenge of it all,” he adds. “Despite our weekly or monthly plans, there’s always something in flux and we adjust accordingly. We’re always looking for improvements, always searching for more proficient and cost efficient opportunities.”
Mark came to the U.S. from South Africa, studied at Texas A&M University, and got involved in laboratory work as a temp with Kelly Scientific and then at the Napa Sanitation District before joining the Central Marin Sanitation Agency (CMSA) as Laboratory Director.
He has been involved in the development of the proposed new Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) standards, representing small laboratories on ELTAC (Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee). “An ELAP overhaul was needed,” he says. “Inspections, documentation, auditor training, the certification program were falling short of its intent. The certification system needed improvement. Although we have begun to see some improvement there is still a long way to go. But cost will be a major issue, and the new standards will require more time and additional documentation.”
Mark with the support of his laboratory staff has also been instrumental in development and incorporation of new methods of testing, namely Luminescent Dissolved Oxygen (LDO) and Colilert, which is used for Total Coliform analysis in recycled waters.
“Many laboratories have sought Mark out for his knowledge of regulatory compliance as it pertains to laboratory applications and other requirements National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES, Pretreatment, etc.),” says Brian Thomas, CMSA technical services director who nominated him. “He has also served on various joint task groups for Standard methods and was instrumental in supporting the LDO technology within its implementation. Mark has continued to support the laboratory community by leading the implementation of new technologies within the wastewater field with respect to the Colilert method approved use for recycled waters.
“He is a valued team member of CMSA and his leadership within our community is appreciated.”
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