Women in Water: Lisa Boyko-Davidson, City of Livermore

Members in the News, Wastewater News, Women in Water

Name: Lisa Boyko-Davidson
Title/Agency: Laboratory Technician, City of Livermore
Certifications: CWEA Laboratory Analyst Grade IV, CWEA Environmental Compliance Inspector Grade I

Lisa Boyko-Davidson had an early start in the science field. “Growing up, my dad worked in an environmental laboratory and I remember helping him run biochemical oxygen demand tests when I was six years old. It seemed natural that I would end up working in a lab setting.” Though Boyko-Davidson always knew that she was a self-described “science nerd,” she didn’t immediately know she wanted to work in the wastewater industry. After studying plant pathology and working in laboratories across the Bay Area, she discovered the wastewater industry and became a Laboratory Technician at the Livermore Water Reclamation Plant in 2004.

Today, Boyko-Davidson is part of a 100% female-run laboratory responsible for thousands of wastewater tests per year. These tests ensure that the Livermore Water Reclamation Plant is operating as it should and that its treated wastewater meets permit requirements. Her favorite part of the job?

“I love that I get to do science every day. People often do not realize that wastewater treatment plants are living things. We use certain types of microorganisms (or “bugs”) to treat wastewater – and sometimes they are happy, sometimes they are not. It is a daily challenge to make sure the bugs are happy, and everything stays at the correct levels.”

Boyko-Davidson has found that the wastewater industry is very supportive of its female employees. “When I attend wastewater conferences, I can see that women are well represented in laboratory and environmental compliance positions. There are less women in wastewater treatment operations, but this may be because they are not aware of these positions.”

However, Boyko-Davidson noted, “the great thing about the wastewater industry is that you don’t need to be locked in doing the same thing throughout your entire career. You can start in one aspect of the industry and then use what you learn to apply to other jobs. It is not unusual to see people jump between laboratory, wastewater treatment operations, and environmental compliance positions.”