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Raise your glass for water treatment operators and more 

Thanks to Kathy Johnston for a nice article about drinking water ("The secret life of water," Nov. 16). It was a pleasure to talk with her recently about this important topic. I would like to make sure that your readers know about the critical role that our water treatment operators have in producing the clean, safe water that comes out of our taps.

It takes a team of operators, lab staff, engineers, and administrative staff to operate a water system. However, the operators are the front line workers who keep the water flowing and make sure it is properly treated, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They have a huge responsibility for protecting public health. They continuously monitor the quality of the water, measure and adjust the chemicals that are used to treat the water, fix leaky pipes, clean filters, maintain the many different kinds of equipment used in a water treatment plant, collect many of the samples that are analyzed in the lab, know about local, state, and federal regulations, and perform many other important functions on a daily basis and they are the ones who work through the night when there is an emergency, or, more often, to avert an emergency.

They have a broad range of knowledge and skills and extensive backgrounds that make them invaluable in our operations. The next time you open a faucet and enjoy a reliable supply of clean, safe drinking water, thank a water treatment operator.

Lisa Wallender
water systems chemist
San Luis Obispo County

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