Richie Arballo, Senior Water Systems Operator, Vallecitos Water District
Tenure and certifications held: 15 years, Water Distribution Operator Grade D5, Water Treatment Operator Grade T2, Water Quality Laboratory Analyst Grade 1
Branch/years of service: USMC/ 4 years
What is your role?
Senior Operator, I work under the Supervisor. When the Supervisor is not available I assume his duties. Go over the flow changes that provide safe potable water to over 100,000 people. Perform water quality analysis, maintain our lab and analyze coliform samples collected within the district. Complete and send monthly reports to the department of Drinking Water, annual reports such as Consumer Confidence Report and Electronic Annual report, and the triennial report of Lead and Copper.
What / who inspired you to work in water?
When I joined the military I wanted to be an electrician, but I scored a little higher on my test and they sent me to Water Purification. They assign you to where they need you at that time. I learned most of the characteristics of water science and was very interested.
What fuels your passion for your work?
I like the sense of feeling that I can tell customers that their water is safe to drink, because I test it every day. Also, the way our district gets along with everyone here.
What is the biggest mis-perception about working in water?
Some customers think we are just like pool workers
Why should veterans join this field?
Veterans should really consider looking into all of the Utility fields it would be an easy transition. The Military is just like a business they have personnel that work in PR, HR, warehouses. Every job that is in the civilian environment is in the military environment.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Just knowing that our knowledge and expertise can help customers understand how they receive their water and the benefits.
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