Sarah Hargis is a utility worker in Padre Dam's wastewater workgroup. Sarah and her team work together to ensure that the wastewater collection system is functioning correctly.
The wastewater workgroup performs an important function - keeping the collection system clean and wastewater flowing. It is an ongoing and rigorous process that involves flushing or cleaning the pipes, inspecting the system for possible problems, and making repairs to any issues that arise within the system. The collection system process is important to maintaining sanitation services in most residential, commercial, and industrial metropolitan areas. A well-maintained and well-functioning system prevents sewer spills and minimizes odor issues, and by doing so, helps to preserve public health.
Sarah cleans sewer lines by operating a combination truck, also known as a Vactor, which utilizes high pressure water nozzles to flush sewer lines, break through blockages, and removes debris from the sewer line. In addition, she uses a closed circuit television system known as CCTV (a computer system with a motorized camera) that provides a live feed of the internal condition of the sewer line, enabling her to examine and record the condition of sewer mains and laterals.
The wastewater workgroup will also complete a sewer main or sewer lateral repair if there is an issue with a line. This occurs when there are pipeline failures, blockages, root intrusions, cracks, or breaks within the mains and laterals.
Sarah first became interested in the water and wastewater industry when she took courses at Cuyamaca College. She researched the industry and found that it involved a vast variety of work. What sparked Sarah's interest was the aspect of working with her hands, using heavy equipment, working outdoors, and interacting with the community.
Sarah's favorite part of her work is interacting with the public: "I really like being able to give the public factual information. I like that I'm outside and able to interact with the people in our community and explain how our systems work."
In her free time, Sarah enjoys fishing, camping, and being outdoors.