Veterans in Water: Alexander Avila, Compost Worker

Veterans in Water, Wastewater Life

Name: Alexander Avila
Title: Compost Worker
Tenure and certifications held: 7 Months/Confined space, Lockout Tag out, Respirator fitting
Name of agency: Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA)
Branch and years of service: Army National Guard/ 8 years

What is your role?
In the Army I was a team leader responsible for supervising 6 soldiers. Today I am a Compost Worker for the Inland Empire Utilities Agency’s Inland Empire Regional Composting Facility (IERCF), turning biosolids from the wastewater treatment process into high-quality compost for the region.

What / who inspired you to work in water?
My dad was a wastewater operator and that always inspired me to want to join that same field. I also had schooling for water treatment in the military.

What fuels your passion for your work?
I love knowing that we are doing our part to contribute to a greener earth by recycling our hazardous waste and turning it into compost that brings life to the agricultural world.

What is the biggest mis-perception about working in water?
Many don’t realize how long of a process it is to ensure the material we are working with is clean enough to be distributed for the community to use.

Why should veterans join this field?
Working in the water industry is structured similar to the military with a chain of command and a lot of communication.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

I enjoy challenging myself to use computer programs such as SCDA system to better know the plant I work at and appreciate being able to get in a nice workout by cleaning around the machines.