Water Sector News & Trends

Labor Day brings added appreciation for essential workers

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This year’s Labor Day comes in the era of essential workers, who have faced unprecedented conditions since March to perform the community’s most crucial services.

As a senior environmental compliance inspector for the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, Colleen Henry can’t work from home. She visits local businesses to inspect and sample wastewater to ensure that the discharge in the sewer pipes protects the system from the pollutants they create.

“My first couple of weeks were rough,” she said of working during the pandemic. “My daughter got sent home from school, so it was balancing being a mom and suddenly a teacher, plus working from home and figuring that thing out at the beginning.”

Henry and some of her colleagues had to quickly adjust to only coming into the office on alternating weeks. Although inspectors normally show up unannounced to test businesses’ wastewater, they now schedule inspections for the safety of both parties.