It was Thanksgiving Day, and Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Dee Cutino was home enjoying turkey and the trimmings like most people. But he took time out to pick up the phone and say Happy Thanksgiving to two of his staff—water treatment operators Mike Evans and James Sparks, on duty for the day by themselves at the plant. “I think these guys would jump through a fire for us if they had to,” he said.
At least two operators are always on duty at Harry Tracy— including nights and holidays. And even on a quiet holiday night, the high-pitched beeps routinely come in every few minutes. They are notifications about levels and conditions throughout the plant—ozone residual, the pH level, turbidity, and any number of others.
A key part of the job is knowing what action to take, according to senior operator Mike Evans. He and the other nine plant operators are trained to recognize and deal with the many different issues that could come up, including an earthquake or other natural disaster.
In short, says Mike, “You have to be ready for anything. It’s all about protecting the public with safe water 24/7.”
Mike’s teammate, operator James Sparks, is just as committed. As someone born, raised and living in San Francisco, he takes the promise of safe tap water personally. "It’s for my own family," he says, " my neighbors, and the other million and a half people we serve.”
Thumbs up to Mike, James, and the other men and women who keep watch throughout our water system—24/7, including the Holidays.