Water in the Southwestern U.S. is a hot commodity. The theme of this year’s AHS symposium was “Thriving in a Tough Neighborhood.” This summer I was blessed with an opportunity that I would highly recommend to any student: The Herman Bouwer Intern Scholarship. Herman Bouwer contributed much to Arizona being able to “thrive in a tough neighborhood,” and I am honored to have learned more about hydrology through a program in his name.
I first heard about the Intern Scholarship in my introduction to environmental engineering class facilitated by Dr. Rittmann at ASU. Dr. Rittmann was friends with Dr. Bouwer and advertised the scholarship program to the class. When I heard about the program, a spark was lit inside of me. I wanted to experience this program over the summer. I talked to my wife about the possibility of juggling our schedules to free up my weeks (three boys can be a lot to manage at times) and we decided it would be a great goal.
I applied for the scholarship and was interviewed and offered the opportunity. I experienced such excitement when Steve Acquafredda and Brandon McLean helped me plan my schedule. I was offered to choose from a list of engineering consulting firms, municipalities, and regulatory agencies. This was a hard decision. The organizations that I chose were decided upon to gain wide exposure within water engineering. I chose Carollo Engineers because the firm not only has a rich history in Arizona, but they also appeared very progressive in research and development. I chose City of Phoenix because I wanted to learn how a large municipality manages its water and wastewater treatment plants with such high demand. I selected ADWR because I wanted insight into policy and regulations of our precious resource: water.
I spent 2 weeks at Carollo and all of my assumptions about the firm were validated. The firm is a forward-thinking group of engineers, architects, and other qualified individuals that work hard to solve water issues throughout the country. Carollo has a large research group that continues to find new technology innovations. Not only do they think about future development through research, but Carollo also ensures the development of their employees. I was able to sit in on “Camp Carollo” and learn some new information about wastewater process engineering. I was also able to observe the RFP / RFQ procedures and the process of writing and formatting a proposal. This experience allowed me to observe the client and consultant relationship and aspects of sourcing work as an engineer. I was encouraged because I realized I have the perfect skill set to perform this role for a company.
After my great experience at Carollo I was able to spend a week in wastewater treatment with the City of Phoenix. John Masche took me to 91st Ave WWTP and the Tres Rios Wetlands. This was a great experience getting out to see, and smell, wastewater treatment processes. I was able to observe an engineering design completed by Carollo in action. Next, Mike Kasem took me on a tour of many potable water treatment facilities. I even had the opportunity to visit the historic Verde Treatment plant, built in 1948.
The final part of my experience at the City of Phoenix was spent with Gary Gin, Hydrologist. Gary is a wealth of knowledge. He first used a series of PowerPoint lectures to explain the concept of Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) and provided the latest findings in well efficiency technologies. The next day we visited an ASR well site to observe the conversion into recharge mode, examined another well site with an arsenic treatment system, and observed the various mechanical components to line-shaft turbine pumps. This was the perfect transition to the last part of my internship at ADWR.
Dave Christiana at ADWR provided a wealth of information. At ADWR I was able to visit all departments of interest and go on multiple field assignments. On the first day, Dave introduced me to the systems used at ADWR, as well as covering an introduction to wells and permitting. I was able to mix and match a day to be present at a West Basins planning meeting, in Salome, for the Governor’s Water Initiative. In addition, I was able to have a fantastic field day with Brian Conway, observing earth fissures caused by subsidence in the Valley Metro area. The picture to the left is of me surveying one of these fissures. Another exciting component of my time at ADWR was a visit to the USGS office in Flagstaff.
Vineetha Kartha and I attended a planning session for the Colorado / Little Colorado watersheds to protect the Humpback Chub, an endangered fish species that lives in this watershed and is preyed upon by trout. I was also able to visit with Dam Safety, Brian Cosson with Flood Management, Water Banking, Groundwater Modeling, and was still able to sit in on an ADEQ committee meeting.
The Herman Bouwer Intern Scholarship is an amazing program that has given me an advantage over my peers by empowering me with knowledge about the major areas of water engineering: consulting, municipal management, and regulations through ADEQ and ADWR. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and all the kindness along the way.